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On a Tool for Measuring Soundscape Quality in Urban Residential Areas

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An attribute-profiling tool, customized for 106 residents' structured listening walks, was developed for measuring "soundscape quality" in 24 kinds of listening places representing four urban residential areas exposed to road-traffic noise. The tool's 12 attributes were matched to the soundscape on a scale from 0 to 100%. The attributes were: soothing, pleasant, light, dull, eventful, exciting, stressful, hard, intrusive, annoying, noisy, and loud. In total, the soundscape quality of 636 unique 30-s soundscapes was measured. For good soundscape quality (pleasant and soothing) to predominate outdoors, the overall sound level of soundscapes had to be below ca. 50 dB LAeq,30s. Indoor soundscapes (closed windows) at exposed sides of buildings were found to be of inferior quality compared to outdoor soundscapes at shielded sides. This was true although the former soundscapes were 14 dB LAeq,30s lower than the latter. A PCA analysis of the 12-attribute profiles of the 24 kinds of listening places showed that residents actually perceived "signatures" of soundscape quality linked to the origin of the soundscapes, whether indoor or outdoors. All soundscapes at shielded sides indoors with closed windows clustered together with the indoor and outdoor soundscapes in the low road-traffic noise exposed residential area. Conversely, at buildings sides with high traffic-noise exposure, all soundscapes, outdoors or indoors with open window, clustered together with their outdoor soundscapes at the shielded sides. The new attribute-profiling tool is promising because it measures soundscape quality beyond unwanted sounds and mere sound level of predominant noise.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2006

More about this publication?
  • 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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