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Soundscapes and environmental noise management

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Despite the current expansion of interest in soundscapes, the roles and application of the concept, vis-à-vis that of environmental noise management, have not been adequately articulated. Soundscapes and environmental noise management are complementary, not competing, approaches with respect to the study and management of the outdoor acoustic environment. Their complementarity is best demonstrated by focusing on fundamental distinctions between them. This paper introduces the notion of the acoustic environment as a resource to be managed for different beneficial uses and for diversity, and with a focus on sounds of human preference. It provides the opportunity for a more nuanced understanding of human response to the acoustic environment. By contrast, environmental noise management focuses on sound as a waste, and on reducing the extent and intensity of its adverse effects on people. Soundscape design, planning and management are a useful augmentation to environmental noise management approaches, potentially expanding the scope of application of the tools of acoustic specialists. The two fields require quite different approaches to measurement.

Keywords: 08; 56.3

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2010-09-01

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