When people talk about noise in the big city, the sentence “If you live in a big city, you have to tolerate noise” often comes up. And yes, cities have special urban soundscapes, they are full of sounds that produce not only annoying cacophonies, but also the charming melodies that attract so many people to come to cities. However these soundscapes are not only a random by-product, they can be actively designed. This becomes particularly important when excessive noise pollution endangers health and limits the quality of life in cities. This is where noise action planning comes in.
10 years of noise action planning in Berlin
This year the Berlin Noise Action Plan will be revised for the third time. Last week, we attended the kick-off event at the Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection. Under the motto „Berlin wird leiser“ (Berlin gets quieter) the Senate analyses noise pollution in the city and draws up action plans and measures for noise reduction. Because around 360.000 people (!), meaning 12% of the people living in Berlin, are affected by harmful noise.
Reducing noise, protecting urban quite areas
The next Berlin Noise Action Plan and its public participation campaign revolve around two topics.
1. Reducing noise – e.g. through new mobility concepts, sound-absorbing road surfaces, speed limit at 30 km/h and/or the installation of soundproof windows.
2. Protecting urban quiet areas. To identify the small and large places where Berliners can relax, mixed data will be taken into account, including both noise levels and human responses and subjective evaluations. In order to define these qualities, the findings of Hush City App are going to be included in Berlin’s noise action planning. Stay tuned!
List the places that are too noisy in Berlin at www.leises.berlin.de. Mark your urban quiet areas and tell about interesting noise/quite-related initiatives in your neighbourhood. Noise and quietness are perceived very differently. Your opinion is needed for taking action where it is really necessary. The online dialogue continues until May 23rd.
And don’t forget to share your feedback on everyday quiet areas by using the HushCity App: data can be used in the context of the next Berlin Noise Action Plan. Download the app on iTunes and Google Play store, by clicking here: http://www.opensourcesoundscapes.org/hush-city/
‘Till next week, and quiet regards from Berlin!
The Hush City Mobile Lab Team