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Urban Soundscapes of the World: selection and reproduction of urban acoustic environments with soundscape in mind

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The advent of realistic yet affordable immersive audio-visual recording and reproduction systems that combine binaural or spatial audio with 360-degree video, backed by increasingly efficient and realistic acoustic simulation and auralization models, has led to an increased interest in the acoustic design of urban environments. Architects and designers are however well-known to work by example. One of the goals of the Urban Soundscapes of the World project is therefore to compile a comprehensive reference database of high quality immersive audio-visual recordings of urban sites, within a range of cities worldwide. The well-documented exemplars in this database can be used to serve as an ecologically valid baseline for assessing the perceptual influence of noise control and soundscaping measures through auralization. This paper reports on a perception-based protocol that was developed for the purpose of site selection, in particular for systematically identifying spots within a city with a specific soundscape. This protocol contains an online questionnaire that is conducted among panels of local experts, and that asks participants to pinpoint outdoor public spaces within the city that are perceived in specific ways, regarding the presence of sound sources, the core affect and emotion evoked, and the appropriateness of the sound environment. This approach was designed to lead to a range of urban sites with a wide variety of soundscapes, such that a good statistical power can be achieved in perception experiments that are conducted on the basis of the audio-visual recordings in the database.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: ASAsense, Belgium

Publication date: December 7, 2017

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