More than half of the world’s population lives in cities, and the trend is upwards.
With a growing urban population and denser cities, the number of people being negatively affected by noise is constantly increasing. Every year noise from road traffic affects over 125 million people only in Europe, causing physical and mental health issues, impairing our social well-being and raising questions regarding social and environmental justice.
Although being the second most common environmental stressor, noise pollution has been often neglected. To tackle this challenge, the Environmental Noise Directive was introduced in 2002 in order to establish a common approach to avoid, prevent, and reduce noise pollution among the Member States (END 49/2002).
From quantitative to qualitative approaches
Quantitative approaches, based on acoustical measurements, noise maps and noise action plans, are usually applied to address and reduce noise pollution. However noise is not only objectively quantifiable but it is also perceived subjectively, calling for integrating qualitative approaches with the quantitative ones.
The soundscape approach places people at the core of processes for the protection and improvement of the sonic environments. In doing so, the soundscape approach aims at protecting and enhancing our physical and mental health as well as our social well-being.
The soundscape approach acknowledges the meaning that sounds play in our everyday lives, therefore highlighting the positive effects that a good sonic environment has on our life.
Sound and the Healthy City – Call for papers!
Although a growing number of studies concentrate on the positive effects that a good sonic environment has on our life – e.g. focusing on issues like quietness, tranquility etc. – studies focusing on the negative effects of noise are still outnumbered.
The special issue “Sound and the Healthy City” of the Cities and Health Journal aims to help fill this gap of knowledge, “by calling for original contributions that address the topic of city sounds and health from either or both the anti-noise and soundscape perspectives”.
Contributions might revolve around, but are not limited to themes as public and public/private spaces and the built environment; new forms of mobility; new technology; urban commons, innovative policies, and form of governance; placemaking and inclusion; and ecology.
More information on the call and the kind of contributions that can be submitted can be found here.
With this issue, we hope to raise your interest on the topic of Sound and the Healthy City and we look forward to getting your contributions to the special issue!
Ps. The deadline for submission to this special issue is 25 September 2018!
Quiet regards from Berlin!
The Hush City Mobile Lab Team