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 ARTICLE
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 73  |  Page : 380--387

Characterizing urban areas with good sound quality: Development of a research protocol


Centre for Sustainability, Environment and Health (DMG), National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, The Netherlands

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Elise van Kempen
National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Centre for Sustainability, Environment and Health (DMG), Antonie van Leeuwenhoeklaan 9, 3720BA Bilthoven
The Netherlands
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Source of Support: The review was carried out and written as part of the RIVM-project TASTE, commissioned and funded by the Director of the Dutch National Institute of Public Health and the Environment., Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.144416

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Due to rapid urbanization, the spatial variation between wanted and unwanted sounds will decrease or even disappear. Consequently, the characteristics of (urban) areas where people can temporarily withdraw themselves from urban stressors such as noise may change or become increasingly scarce. Hardly any research has been carried out into the positive health effects of spending time in areas with a good sound quality. One of the problems is that an overview of what aspects determines good sound quality in urban areas and how these are interrelated is lacking. This paper reviews the literature pertaining to the sound quality of urban areas. Aim is to summarize what is known about the influence of social, spatial, and physical aspects other than sounds, on peoples' perception of urban sound qualities. Literature from both conventional sound research and from the so-called soundscape field, published between 2000 and the beginning of 2013 in English or Dutch, was evaluated. Although a general set of validated indicators that can be directly applied, is not available yet, a set of indicators was derived from the literature. These form the basis of a study protocol that will be applied in "Towards a Sustainable acoustic Environment", a project that aims to describe sound qualities at a low-scale level. Key-elements of this study protocol, including a questionnaire and the systematic audit of neighborhoods, were presented in this paper.






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