Noise Futures Network

Lead Research Organisation: Loughborough University
Department Name: Civil and Building Engineering

Abstract

Noise is usually defined as unwanted sound . Environmental noise, including sounds from road/rail/air traffic, industries, construction, public work, and the neighbourhood, creates disturbance and distress. In the European Union around 32% of the population are exposed to road traffic noise and 10% to rail traffic noise above the World Health Organisation (WHO) standards, whilst 10% are highly annoyed by air traffic noise. The latest study in the UK by the Building Research Establishment shows that approximately 54% of the population is exposed to day time noise levels above the WHO standard for daytime noise. Although individual sources of noise such as cars and planes have become quieter, this has been offset by rising traffic levels.Policy is aimed at measuring noise levels and controlling or reducing noise levels in order to meet targets and limits for exposure. What isn't addressed is the issue of the sounds we want to hear. What makes sounds attractive or unattractive? Can we find out? Then can we develop ways of measuring sound quality rather than noise? Ultimately can we design desirable soundscapes in the same way that we design buildings, lighting or landscape effects in urban areas? This network aims to bring together academics from a wide range of different disciplines, experts from industry and policy makers to explore these questions. Bringing people together should spark different ways of looking at problems and collaborative research ideas. The ultimate aim being to make the world sound better!

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Policy is aimed at measuring noise levels and controlling or reducing noise levels in order to meet targets and limits for exposure. What isn't addressed is the issue of the sounds we want to hear. What makes sounds attractive or unattractive? Can we find out? Then can we develop ways of measuring "sound quality" rather than noise? Ultimately can we design desirable soundscapes in the same way that we design buildings, lighting or landscape effects in urban areas?

Key activities and achievements include:

1. We have successfully brought together a diverse group of academics, practitioners and policy makers (including the Mayor of London) to explore these issues through activities supported by the network including conferences and workshops on: The future of computational acoustics; Low frequency noise; Sounder Spaces the forgotten side of quality; and Tranquil spaces. The workshops were also attended by overseas researchers and practitioners.
2. We have organised two day workshops on the future sound environment with the aim of engaging research students and research associates. Attendees were from a range of disciplines and we also invited a number of senior researchers from the UK and also overseas to share their views.
3. To engage with the broader academic community we developed a suite of activities at the 2009 euronoise conference including. A soundwalk in Edinburgh led by John Levack Drever, head of the Unit for Sound Practice Research, Goldsmiths, University of London, and chair of the UK and Ireland Soundscape Community. "From noise to perception mapping" involving Salford University and the National Physical Laboratory collaborating in a joint activity, demonstrating two different state-of-the art ways to assess the acoustical climate in Festivals Square. This involved members of the public recording their impressions of the noise environment. Finally, a concert of soundscape compositions, sonic art that explores the perception of sound in relation to space and place through field recording, with works by Robert Dow, John Levack Drever, Pippa Murphy, and the Future Soundscapes commissions of Chris Watson and Yannick Dauby, initiated by the Positive Soundscapes Project, that question: What sounds will we be hearing around us in 20 years time? How different will the urban soundscape be from the one that we hear now?
4. We have collaborated with the British Library and audioboo to establish the UK Soundmap this will be hosted by the British Library and will provide a unique repository for sounds recorded by the public. This will create an archive of sounds for the future. The project was launched in 2010 with a pilot in Sheffield.
The UK Soundmap may be found at: http://sounds.bl.uk/Sound-Maps/UK-Soundmap The UK SoundMap was the winner in the Public Sector category at the first 'somecomms' UK social media awards held on 9th December 2010 http://www.prmoment.com/2321/the-some-comms-social-media-award-winners-2010/
Exploitation Route The UK Soundmap will provide a lasting resource of crowd-sourced data on the sound environment. Our activities have engaged with the public, policy makers and the British Library.
Sectors Environment

URL http://noisefutures.org/
 
Description The network activities were primarily focused on developing the area academically and in engagement. Examples of academic impact may be found in the future funding section. Engagement activities have involved workshops, concerts, soundwalks and other events engaging academics, practitioners and members of the public. The award winning UK soundmap is a good example of such activity and impact.
First Year Of Impact 2008
Sector Environment,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Policy & public services

 
Description Soundscape design of Brighton Valley Garden
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Improved soundscape design method, for the implementaion of landscape design
 
Description EU COST
Amount € 500,000 (EUR)
Funding ID TD0804 
Organisation European Research Council (ERC) 
Sector Public
Country Belgium
Start 06/2009 
End 06/2013
 
Description Grant to study "Tranquillity of external spaces / influence of acoustic and visual factors"
Amount £202,811 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/F055986/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2008 
End 09/2009
 
Description Holistic and sustainable abatement of noise by optimized combinations of natural and artificial means
Amount € 250,000 (EUR)
Funding ID 234306 
Organisation European Commission 
Department Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 10/2009 
End 04/2013