Resonance – soundscapes of material and immaterial qualities of urban spaces

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In European countries such as Denmark and the Netherlands, the compact city is regarded as a sustainable city model. Because of high density and intensity, the quality of the urban environment is essential for its success. As dense cities may also be experienced as ‘dense’ and ‘intense’ in terms of activity and sound, the acoustic environment of public urban spaces are currently attracting attention from such perspectives, including wider notions of ‘quiet’ and ‘resonance’. To study these phenomena, a case study was set up in Copenhagen and Amsterdam, and four typologies of urban public space were defined in each city. A questionnaire survey was conducted, and supported by transcribed soundtracks, respondents’ statements provided insight into their experience of the acoustic environment of these spaces, i.e. the soundscapes. Results indicate that the urban environment has the potential for offering environmental and existential resonance, and points to relations between sound quality and built density. This is of importance for both urban planning and the public health agenda. 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’.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCities & Health
Issue number1-2
Pages (from-to)160-178
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2019

ID: 233720186