WHAT IS A SOUNDWALK?
A soundwalk is “any excursion whose main purpose is listening to the environment”(Westerkamp, 1974). It is a walk whose main purpose is listen to any sound of the environment, near and far from us, continuous and discontinuous, in the foreground and in the background, sounds that we like and noises that we don’t like.
Ears first, please!
HOW I LEAD A SOUNDWALK
My soundwalks usually last approximately 1.5 hour, and I always open them with an introduction to the activity on field and I end them with a group discussion, so that the participants can share their impressions when the experience is still vivid.
During the soundwalks, I guide the participants along a predefined path composed of several listening points. At each listening point, we stop and listen actively to the environment. Then, the participants can be invited to evaluate the listening point and collect data. The procedure is repeated at each listening point.
Depending on the aim of the soundwalk, I can lead silent soundwalks, commented soundwalks, soundwalks with complex evaluation points and/or solo soundwalks.
The number of participants is usually limited to 25/30 people.
In 2017 I also initiated the Hush City Soundwalks, in which the Hush City app is exploited to map and evaluate quiet areas along the soundwalks’ route. Data collected with the Hush City app is linked in real time to the Hush City Map & ready to be further explored, discussed and exploited to design and plan healthier cities.
If you are curious to learn more about how I design and guide a soundwalk, read my A Pocket Guide to Soundwalking.
It may happen that you find yourself listening to your internal thoughts. No panic 🙂 Listening to environmental sounds, especially when the environemnt is loud, might be challenging. Just focus on breathing and listen to a sound that you like or that is intriguing. This tip will help you to re-open your ears to the environment.
My first soundwalk dated back to 2009 and was guided by Albert Mayr in Bologna. Then, I had the privilege of being guided in soundwalking by Justin Winkler (Firenze, 2011), Andra McCartney (Montreal, 2012) and Des Coulam (Paris, 2014). Since 2012, I have guided soundwalks in Firenze, Ferrara, Rome, Lisbon, Berlin, Hamburg, Pistoia, Rotterdam and Madrid (forthcoming, November 2018).
As an invited leader I have designed and guided soundwalks internationally:
- Berlin: Combined Sound- and Lightwalk in the neighbourhood Friedrichshain, Berlin, at the Stadt Nach Acht 2019 – International Nightlife Conference, Berlin, Germany, 28 November 2019 (with Dietrich Henckel).
- Worldwide: ideation and coordination of the Global Program of Hush City Soundwalks, including 21 Soundwalks guided internationally throughout the month of September 2019, for the celebration of the Sunday Walk Sunday 2019. Full Program here.
- Barcelona: Soundwalk in the neighbourhood Poblenou, Barcelona, Spain, 27 September 2019.
- Florence: Soundwalk in the neighbourhood Rovezzano, Florence, Italy, 24 September 2019.
- Milan: Soundwalk in the neighbourhood Morivione, Milan, Italy, 20 September 2019.
- New York: Soundwalk in the neighbourhood West Village, New York, USA, 24 April 2019.
- New York: Soundwalk in the neighbourhood West Village, New York, USA, 8 April 2019.
- Madrid: soundwalk in the historical centre of Madrid, Madrid, Spain, 27 November 2018.
- Rome: Soundwalk in the neighbourhood Testaccio, Rome, 18 October 2018.
- Rotterdam: Soundwalk in the neighbourhood Delfthafen at The Anxious City Festival, Rotterdam, NL, 2 September 2018.
- Berlin: two Soundwalks in the neighbourhood Reuterkiez, Berlin, Germany, 18 July 2018.
- Pistoia: two Soundwalks in the historical center of Pistoia at the International Conference Paesaggi sonori/Urban Soundscapes, Pistoia, Italy, 26-27 April 2018.
- Berlin: Soundwalk in the neighbourhood Reuterkiez with the students of the Rütlischule, Berlin, Germany, 17 April 2018.
- Berlin: Soundwalk in the neighbourhood Reuterkiez, Berlin, with the students of the University of Pennsylvania, Berlin fieldtrip, Berlin, Germany, 6 March 2018.
- Hamburg: Soundwalk in the neighbourhood HafenCity, with the students of the HafenCity University, Hamburg, Germany, 12 January 2018.
- Berlin: Soundwalk in the neighbourhood Reuterkiez, Berlin with the students of the University of Edinburgh, Berlin ethno-fieldtrip, Berlin, Germany, 1 September 2017.
- Rome: Combined Sound- and Lightwalk in the neighbourhood Celio, Rome, at the 32nd Italian Congress of Geography, Rome, Italy, 7 June 2017 (with Dietrich Henckel).
- Florence: two Soundwalks in the neighbourhood Oltrarno and San Lorenzo, Florence, at the XXII International Conference on Sound & Vibration, Florence, Italy, 16 July 2015.
- Florence: Soundwalk in the neighbourhood Isolotto, Florence, at the Tempo Reale Festival, Florence, Italy, 9 May 2015.
- Rome: Soundwalk in the neighbourhood Esquilino, Rome, Italy, 21 November 2014.