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Machine Listening for Park Soundscape Quality Assessment

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The increasing importance attributed to soundscape quality in urban design generates a need for a system for automatic quality assessment that could be used for example in monitoring. In this work, the possibility for using machine listening techniques for this purpose is explored. The outlined approach detects the presence of particular sounds in a human-inspired way, and therefore allows to draw conclusions about how soundscapes are perceived. The system proposed in this paper consists of a partly recurrent artificial neural network modified to incorporate human attention mechanisms. The network is trained on sounds recorded in typical urban parks in the city of Antwerp, and thus becomes an auditory object creation and classification system particularly tuned to this context. The system is used to analyze a continuous sound level recording in different parks, resulting in a prediction of sounds that will most likely be noticed by a park visitor. Finally, it is shown that these indicators for noticed sounds allow to construct more powerful models for soundscape quality as reported in a survey with park visitors than indicators that are more regularly used in soundscape research.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2018

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  • Acta Acustica united with Acustica, published together with the European Acoustics Association (EAA), is an international, peer-reviewed journal on acoustics. It publishes original articles on all subjects in the field of acoustics, such as general linear acoustics, nonlinear acoustics, macrosonics, flow acoustics, atmospheric sound, underwater sound, ultrasonics, physical acoustics, structural acoustics, noise control, active control, environmental noise, building acoustics, room acoustics, acoustic materials, acoustic signal processing, computational and numerical acoustics, hearing, audiology and psychoacoustics, speech, musical acoustics, electroacoustics, auditory quality of systems. It reports on original scientific research in acoustics and on engineering applications. The journal considers scientific papers, technical and applied papers, book reviews, short communications, doctoral thesis abstracts, etc. In irregular intervals also special issues and review articles are published.
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