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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 88  |  Page : 154--164

Assessment of spatial and physical neighborhood characteristics that influence sound quality and herewith well-being and health

Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, PO Box 1, 3720 BA Bilthoven, The Netherlands

Correspondence Address:
Jeroen Devilee
Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), PO Box 1, 3720 BA Bilthoven
The Netherlands
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/nah.NAH_53_16

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Environmental noise and health studies seldom address the positive effect of environments with high acoustic quality. Sound quality, in turn, is influenced by a large number of factors, including the spatial–physical characteristics of a neighborhood. In general, these characteristics cannot be retrieved from existing databases. In this article, we describe the design of an audit instrument and demonstrate its value for gathering information about these characteristics of neighborhoods. The audit instrument used was derived from research in other fields than environmental health. The instrument was tested in 33 neighborhoods in the Dutch cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Arnhem. In these neighborhoods, more or less homogeneous subareas were identified that were subject of the audit. The results show that the audit approach is suitable to gather neighborhood data that are relevant for the sound quality of neighborhoods. Together with survey data, they provide information that could further the field of soundscape and health. Several suggestions for improvement of the audit instrument were made.


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