Antonella Radicchi

Antonella Radicchi

Architect and Urbanist, PhD




The Hush City Mobile Lab’s mission is to make our cities quieter and healthier places to live in.

But, what is quietness? And how can it be defined and addressed?
In the same way that health cannot be defined as “merely the absence of disease” (WHO, 1948), the mere absence of noise is not sufficient to define quietness and ensure a good sonic environment for our physical and mental health, and social well-being.

At Hush City Mobile Lab we believe that people, like you, need to be (re)placed at the core of urban planning processes and engaged to identify, evaluate and plan everyday quiet areas in cities.
To reach this goal we apply the “open source soundscapes” methodology, combining methods and tools drawn from soundscape research and citizen science, like soundwalks and a new mobile app – the Hush City app!

The “open source soundscapes” approach was initiated in the framework of the project: “Beyond the Noise: Open Source Soundscapes” (2016-2018), and we will continue to apply and deepen the methodology through new pilots and comparative studies, like the one in progress in Granada.

The Lab’s first two-year agenda revolves around 4 key-actions:

  1. Participation. We boost and retain citizen participation by implementing new features on the Hush City app and structuring a citizen science communication campaign.
  2. Analyses. We apply the soundscape approach and psychoacoustic analyses to further explore the “everyday quiet areas” identified by people in Berlin using the Hush City app and, eventually, to define a descriptor.
  3. Policy & best practices. Dedeveloping a comparative Berlin-New York case study so as to build a framework on EU and USA policies & best practices on noise abetment and soundscape planning.
  4. Planning. Designing the “Berlin Everyday Quiet Areas Master Plan” and developing city-scale planning guidelines and regulations in Berlin.

Given the interdisciplinary nature of the Lab, methods and tools include: literature review, planning and policy document analyses, narrative interviews, soundwalks, the Hush City app, psychoacoustic analyses, and the urban acupuncture method.

We are proud to collaborate with academics, artists, practitioners, city makers, and community groups in its communication that noise has to be considered a health issue and the sonic urban environment needs to be a curated common in our society.

In the end, we expect to positivly impact different fields: science, policy, environment, economy and society at large.




Project manager: Prof. Dr. Lech Suwala (Technical University of Berlin)
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Arch. Antonella Radicchi (Technical University of Berlin)
Research Assistant (May 2018 – August 2019): B.Sc.  Charlotte Weber (Technical University of Berlin)
Project Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Dietrich Henckel (Technical University of Berlin), M.A. Jörg Kaptain (Berlin Senate, Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection).

Advisory Board (in alphabetical order):

  1. Dr. Arline Bronzaft, Professor Emerita, City University of New York
  2. Prof. Dr. Elena Cogato Lanza, École Polytechnique Fédérale De Lausanne
  3. Prof. Dr. Marian Dörk, University of Applied Sciences Potsdam
  4. Prof. Dr. Milena Droumeva, Simon Fraser University
  5. M. Ing. Michael Jäcker-Cüppers, ALD, Technical University of Berlin
  6. Prof. Dr. Muki Haklay, University College London
  7. Prof. Dr. Dirk Heinrichs, Technical University of Berlin
  8. Mo. Albert Mayr, Time Design Bureau
  9. Dr. Martin Memmel, QUERTEX
  10. Prof. Rosario Pavia, University of Pescara
  11. Prof. Dr. Brigitte Schulte-Fortkamp, Technical University of Berlin


The project received funding from the HEAD-Genuit Foundation [P-17/08-W].
The project received the no-profit institutional support of the Berlin Senate and it will be developed in accordance with the Berlin Senate, Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection.


Image & logo source: courtesy of Marcus Grant
Figure above: Images © Marcus Grant 2018


Sound & the Healthy City is a special issue for the Journal Cities & Health, Routledge, that collects interdisciplinary contributions addressing the impact of the acoustic environment on health and well-being of people, through both soundscape and noise-based approaches.

Keywords: public space, healthy cities, sensory studies, urban design, planning, soundscape, noise, quiet areas, citizen science, ecology, placemaking, walking, mobile technology, sound art.


  • Sound and the Healthy City by Antonella Radicchi, Pınar Cevikayak Yelmi, Andy Chung, Pamela Jordan, Sharon Stewart, Aggelos Tsaligopoulos, Lindsay McCunn, Marcus Grant.









  • Guest Lead Editor: Antonella Radicchi, Technical University of Berlin, Germany.
  • Guest Co-Editors (in alphabetical order): Pınar Cevikayak Yelmi, Işık University, Istanbul, Turkey; Andy Chung, Macau Instituto de Acústica, Macau; Pamela Jordan, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands; Sharon Stewart, ArtEZ University of the Arts, Netherlands; Aggelos Tsaligopoulos, University of the Aegean, Mytilene, Greece.
  • Cities & Health Co-editors (in alphabetical order): Lindsay McCunn, Vancouver Island University, Canada, Marcus Grant, Environmental Stewardship, Bristol, England.
  • Advisory Board (in alphabetical order): Arline Bronzaft, Ph.D., Professor Emerita of the City University of New York, New York; Peter Lercher, Ph.D., Professor of the University of Graz, Graz; Brigitte Schulte-Fortkamp, Ph.D., Professor of the Technical University of Berlin, Berlin; Barry Truax, Professor Emeritus of the Simon Fraser University, Vancouver.
  • Special issue partners (in alphabetical order): ALD, the working group on noise of the Acoustical Society of Germany; the Building Health Lab; The Quiet Coalition.



2018 – 2020




The soundscape is a huge musical composition, unfolding around us ceaselessly [where] we are simultaneously its audience, its performers and its composers.” (Schafer, 1977)

Every year 125 million Europeans are affected by noise pollution from traffic, which affects our health, quality of life and well-being. Noise pollution, indeed, represents a hazard to our physical and psychological health, it results in huge costs to our society and it has dramatic impact on biodiversity. To take action against noise pollution is therefore imperative.
In 2002 the Environmental Noise Directive was released to tackle this challenge; furthermore the directive identifies the protection of quiet areas as a valid measure to reduce noise pollution. However, how to properly identify quiet areas is still an open question at the European policy level, as indicated by the European Environment Agency in 2014, who invited scholars to pursue in-depth research in this field by experimenting with mixed approaches.
Through the development of the Beyond the Noise: Open Source Soundscapes project, a novel, participatory methodology to identify, evaluate and plan “everyday quiet areas” in cities was successfully validated. This methodology combines the soundscape approach, citizen science and the implementation of a novel mobile app: the Hush City app.
In the pilot study, conducted in Berlin, methods like semi-structured interviews, group soundwalks and the use of the Hush City app were applied to allow the participants to identify and evaluate “everyday quiet areas” on the neighborhood scale. The results were collected to compile the Reuterkiez Everyday Quiet Areas Map, which was used as a basis to define planning guidelines for the protection of these areas.
Beyond the Berlin pilot study, the Hush City app has been applied in other cities worldwide, confirming the interest of the general public, academic circles and stakeholders on the issue of urban quiet areas and the replicability of the methodology. Positive impact is expected on different fields such as science, politcs, environment, economy and public health.




Principal Investigator: Dr. Arch. Antonella Radicchi (Technical University of Berlin).
Project Supervisors: Professor Dr. Dietrich Henckel (Technical University of Berlin), M.A. Jörg Kaptain (Berlin Senate, Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection).
Acoustic Advisors: Dipl. Ing. Michael Jäcker-Cüppers (ALD, Technical University of Berlin), Dipl. Ing. Manuel Frost (Berlin Senate, Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection), Dipl. Ing. Mattia Cobianchi (Bowers & Wilkins, UK).
The pilot study was conducted in collaboration with Rabea and Dominik from the Stadtteilbüro Reuterkiez!
The project received the no-profit istitutional support of the Berlin Senate and it was developed in accordance with the Berlin Senate, Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection.


The research leading to these results has received funding from the People Programme (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under REA grant agreement no. 600209 (TU Berlin – IPODI).
The project received the no-profit institutional support of the Berlin Senate and it will be developed in accordance with the Berlin Senate, Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection.


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Soundscapes and Lightscapes of the Urban Night. Berlin/Florence
Quietness and natural darkness are becoming ever-scarcer goods in cities, especially at night. Therefore, cities have been developing policies and strategies to reduce and mitigate the impact of light and noise pollution at night on human health, quality of life and wellbeing of citizens. Nevertheless, light and sound are rather more complex and ambivalent issues to deal with. Noise, as the negative side of sound, is definetely present in urban planning, as it is the case of light with its positive attributes, even if to a lesser extent. Vice versa, the positive side of sound is much less investigated, as are the negative aspects of artificial light. Moreover, sound and light have in common that they both have quantitative features – such as sound pressure levels and lighting levels – and qualitative ones, which are mediated by individual perception. However, the lack of methods to evaluate the impact on citizen perception in everyday life and the lack of integrated approaches to city pollution are still considered as demanding issues.

Against this background, the “Soundscapes and Lightscapes of the Night. Berlin/Florence” project aimed to fill this gap of methodological knowledge proposing a new experimental, integrated approach to the issues of light and noise pollution at night, through a comparative pilot study conducted in the cities of Berlin and Florence.
In the pilot study, we experimented with a mixed approach, integrating qualitative and quantitative methods. First, we made combined light- and soundwalks in the pilot study areas in Berlin and Florence – a combination, which had not yet been performed, as far as we know. Whereas soundwalks have a rather long history with a consistent body of literature and examples of practices, lightwalks are a much younger phenomenon. Therefore, theory and practice of soundwalking was taken as a reference for defining the new method of light- and soundwalk. Based on the experiences of these combined walks, in the pilot study areas four hot spots were identified where further qualitative analyses were undertaken, such as experimental measurements of sound and light levels, and surveys with passers-by in the street. An extensive analysis of the respective policies and political and legal frameworks in both cities were also conducted by the means of literature review and expert interviews.

The results show very remarkable differences between both cities and prove the great potential of an integrated analysis of quantitative and qualitative data, especially by taking citizen perception into account. These potentials warrant further research.




This project was developed in the Fall Semester  2016/2017 with and by the students from the Technical University of Berlin in the frame of the program: Masterprojekt Stadt- und Regionalplanung.
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Dietrich Henckel (Technical University of Berlin), Dr. Arch. Antonella Radicchi (Technical University of Berlin).
Students: Elena Abt, Hanna Buntz, Jeffrey del Castillo, Rocío Gravino, Anna Loffing, Tim Lukas Lübben, Luisa Multer, Johannes Sichter, Luca Steffhan, Federico Trípoli, Christiane Wichtmann.
The project was awarded the TU Berlin Quality of the Students’ Work (2nd placement). Download the certificate here.


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The project came into being for the occasion of the Regione Toscana’s participation at EXPO Milan 2015 and was conceived and created by Antonella Radicchi with the collaboration of Fondazione Sistema Toscana.

Toscana Sound Map transmits information about Tuscany’s spatial, acoustic and temporal aspects for the purpose of representing the soundscape through use of a digital platform and an interactive interface. Furthermore, Toscana Sound Map is an archive of soundmarks, sounds perceived by people as being typical of Tuscany and its identity. The objective is to preserve, endorse and promote them. The recorded sounds have been enriched thanks to the intervention of a composer; in this way, short and original tracks are generated. Lastly, Toscana Sound Map is also a collective project open to the participation of residents and the general public. As Schafer stated, soundscapes can be considered an immense musical composition where we are listeners, performers and composers all at once! Anyone can participate in the development of the sound map by sending in their own sound tracks and following the directions listed in the PARTICIPATE section. Read more here.




Fondazione Sistema Toscana, Regione Toscana, EXPO Milan 2015


An Emotional Journey

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Firenze Sound Map. A Emotional Journey through Florentine Soundscapes.

The video was commissioned to Antonella Radicchi by the Rotary Club Firenze and the Firenze City Council’s UNESCO Office and presented at the 2015 Unesco Historic Cities Heritage of Peace Conference in Istanbul on April, 4 2015.

The video is an emotional journey through the Florentine soundscapes and is composed of sounds, images and comments, which have been shared by tourists, citizens and city users and uploaded to Firenze Sound Map. It is divided into 5 sections, which represent the main soundscapes of Firenze according to the preferences expressed by Florentine citizens, city users and tourists who participated in the project.


2015, Spring


Rotary Club Firenze, UNESCO Office Municipality of Firenze




In 2009, I launched Firenze Sound Map – known as the collective “tender” sound map of Firenze – a freelance project resulting from my doctoral research with the aim of 1) representing the Florentine soundscapes from an emotional standpoint through public participation; 2) filling the gap produced by Firenze Noise Map between the representation and the real experience of the city environment. Firenze Sound Map is also an interactive and open source tool of mapping the Florentine soundscapes as it is perceived by city users.

In 2013 the map’s data were shared with the Open Data System of the Municipality of Firenze under the supervision of the Municipality of Firenze (former) Director of Innovation Prof. Giovanni Menduni and Dr. Gianluca Vannuccini. Since then, data have been updated on a yearly basis and can be accessed through the dataset Immaterial Cultural Heritage.

In 2015, I was invited by the Rotary Club Firenze and by the UNESCO Office – Municipality of Firenze – to make a video describing the contet of Firenze Sound Map. The video, called: Firenze Sound Map. A Emotional Journey through Florentine Soundscapes – was presented at the 2015 Unesco Historic Cities Heritage of Peace Conference in Istanbul on April, 4 2015.
This video is an emotional journey through the Florentine soundscapes and is composed of sounds, images and comments which have been shared by tourists, citizens and city users and are part of Firenze Sound Map. It is divided into 5 sections, which represent the main soundscapes of Firenze according to the preferences expressed by Florentine citizens, city users and tourists who so far participated in the project.


2009 – ON; 2015 (video)


Independent research project; Rotary Club Firenze, UNESCO Office Municipality of Firenze





Lorenzo de’ Medici Institute, Architecture & Interior Design Department (Graduate)

The workshop focused on analysing relationships between Florentine soundscapes and emotional dimensions perceived by city users, and therefore on investigating the role played by the sonic environment in shaping the identity of cities. Students were given an introductory lesson on the disciplinary field of Soundscape Studies and qualitative tools of analysing and mapping urban soundscapes. The case study of Firenze Sound Map and its linking to the OpenData System of the Municipality of Firenze were illustrated; finally introductory notes on the concept of open data were provided. A soundwalk was guided in the city; students were asked to collect data (sounds, picturess, comments) which were selected and uploaded to Firenze Sound Map and shared with the OpenData System of the Municipality of Firenze.


2014, Fall


Lorenzo de’ Medici Institute


Soundscapes Oltrarno Technology Framework. Image source: Antonella Radicchi (2009)


The Soundscapes Oltrarno project* was developed during the 2007 MIT Digital City Design Workshop and it addressed the renewal of the Oltrarno neighborhood in Firenze by applying the soundscape approach, 2.0 new media and citizen-driven framework.

In Florence, Oltrarno is a diverse neighborhood of social and economic activity including craft workshops, universities, restaurants, churches, and piazzas. These activities produce distinctive and fascinating sounds. This sonic richness is obscured by noise pollution created by automobile traffic. In the future, the act of replacing noisy, gas-fueled vehicles with quiet city cars and scooters will allow Oltrarno to recapture its sound identity.
So, what sounds will substitute for the motors and horns?
Soundscapes Oltrarno aimed to facilitate the creation of spaces through digital technologies that can mitigate the steady drone or deafening roar of automobile traffic.
The audio-based interventions investigated in this study aimed not only to address traffic noise that obscures the sound identities of places in Oltrarno, but also to engage the burgeoning youth culture in the neighbourhood.
Soundscapes Oltrarno used sound to activate, bring content, or call attention to the small spaces, or “nooks,” throughout the neighbourhood that are often overlooked.
Finally, by harnessing digital technologies such as audio spotlights, digital music players, mobile phones, and multi-track recording software – both in the city and on the Internet – Soundsapes Oltrarno established an ‘open source’ process by which neighborhood residents and visitors could create, capture, manipulate and expose sounds in the public spaces of the city.

* A collaboration between Antonella Radicchi and MIT PhD student Francisca Rojas.






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University of Roma Tre (IT), Faculty of Architecture (Graduate)

The course provided an understanding of the method of analysing, representing and designing the city grounded on the so-called sensory approach, which mainly focuses on sensorial and intangible aspects of the urban realm. The core product of the class was the study of the sensorial and intangible aspects that characterize the Testaccio-Porta Portese-Ostiense area in Rome and their representation via a “tender” map, referring to the Emotional Geography (which, in the words of Giuliana Bruno, “includes the beings that inhabit it and the forms of the passing through spaces, including the spaces of life”). Students were asked to apply qualitative methods of analysis and representation of the urban realm, not limiting to localization, spatial distribution and quantification of data, but attempting an understanding of the everyday life through the senses.




University of Roma Tre