Antonella Radicchi

Antonella Radicchi

Architect and Urbanist, PhD

Sound & the Healthy City (5)

The last newsletter of 2019 presents the four new papers which have been recently published online, as part of the special issue “Sound and the Healthy City” for the “Cities & Health” Journal.

This special issue is curated by Antonella Radicchi as a Lead Guest Editor along with a fantastic bunch of guest co-editors (in alphabetical order): Pınar Çevikayak Yelmi, Andy Chung, Pamela Jordan, Sharon Stewart, Aggelos Tsaligopoulos. The aim of this special issue is to put together transdisciplinary contributions which address not only the negative effects of noise pollution but also the positive effects of the acoustic environment on people’s health and quality of life. Read more here about the special issue’s aim.

The original work “Resonance – soundscapes of material and immaterial qualities of urban spaces” is authored by Hanne Wiemann Nielsen, Gertrud Jørgensen & Ellen Marie Braae and it was published online on October 14th, 2019. It presents a case study set up in Copenhagen and Amsterdam. The aim is to research four typologies of urban public space in both cities through the lens of “quiet” and “resonance”. Results indicate that the urban environment has the potential of offering environmental and existential resonance, and points to relations between sound quality and built density. Based on these initial findings it is suggested that soundscape information may offer inspiration for rethinking compact city characteristics such as density and intensity, potentially stimulating cultural uniqueness and diversity and inspire ‘new typology thinking’.
Full article is available here.

The Commentary & Debate piece “Toward a better understanding of pleasant sounds and soundscapes in urban settings” is authored by Eleanor Ratcliffe and it was published online on November 27th, 2019. Whereas much research has focused on unwanted sound, or noise, this piece discusses certain sounds – especially those drawn from nature – which are usually linked to positive outcomes, highlighting an increasing interest in identifying and protecting such sounds within cities to offer opportunities for psychological restoration or recovery. It also argues that explanations of why certain sounds are perceived positively are limited, suggesting that theoretical development is needed in order to integrate available evidence into wider work on environment and wellbeing, and this should include attention to perceptual properties of sounds and their interpretations by listeners.
Full article is available here.

The visual essay “Chiller plant full-scale acoustic simulation in a quiet neighborhood” is authored by Marylin Roa, Matthew Vetterick & Gary W. Siebein and it was published online on November 29th, 2019. It presents dialogues between designers and stakeholders with the acoustical consultant during the design of a new chiller plant at a college in a medium-sized city. In order to understand the noise impact of the proposed chiller plant equipment on the quality of life, a full-scale simulation was constructed to help the community make decisions on which noise mitigation strategy should be used to maintain the existing sounds of the site.
Full article is available here.

The Commentary & Debate piece “Healing the urban soundscape: reflections and reverberations” is authored by Marcia Jenneth Epstein and it was published online on December 1st, 2019.
It reports in short the latest Guidelines from the World Health Organization which present the role of noise in damaging health, highlighting how ambient urban noise from traffic and infrastructure raises risks for heart disease, stroke, depression, and chronic anxiety. This essay also draws the reader’s attention to effective developments in design and planning, rooted in the paradigm of soundscape studies, which can contribute to supporting public health through the creation of quiet spaces and soundscape modifications.
Full article is available here.

Did you enjoy reading this newsletter?

In the next weeks, we will be featuring the final two articles of the special issue “Sound and the Healthy City” and we will give a sneak peak of the leading editorial. Stay tuned!

Quiet regards from Berlin and… Happy New Year!
The Hush City Mobile Lab Team