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Making noise: culture and the city soundscape

This is an excerpt from an intriguing blog post about urban sound as written by Ben Stephenson, BAS Consultancy Ltd.

If we really want to understand why we are able to zone out some city noises and not others, it seems worth considering that not all decibels are created or distributed equally.

Whether we have the right to tranquility, or the right to make noise, we can’t achieve these in a meaningful sense without recognizing the cultural factors and wealth disparities that distort the aural experience of different city dwellers.

For me, that means a recognition of an ‘aural commons’ – a city soundscape that is collectively owned, that is protected in a balanced way, and that offers everyone the same right to a proportionate, healthy, productive urban soundscape.

This won’t keep everyone happy all of the time, but it should help to manage expectation equitably. It also means collecting data, like Brussels does, to understand exactly where the hotspots are and to plan accordingly.

Photo by @chairulfajar_ on Unsplash

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