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Acoustic city planners wanted!


Sound policies in public environments usually have the approach of protecting us from, for instance noise. Lately adding sound for various reasons has been applied. How are we actually affected or influenced by sound? Perhaps we should employ acoustic city planners? At least this is what Björn Hellström suggests!

In this article (in Swedish) Swedish Björn Hellström, Sound designer and architect, wants to make us aware of the positive approach towards sound and acoustic impressions in our society and outdoor surroundings. You may want to read the article using Google Translator or absorb some highlights below.
The acoustic environment of cities is constantly changing. The public space is filled with acoustic sensations. This could be muzak from external loud speakers or acoustic installations.
Today there is no unit within the field of urban planning having in depth knowledge about this, thus a lack of relevant competence!
Mainly defensive strategies trying to protect the human being from sound are applied. Perhaps we should have a more progressive or positive attitude, focusing more on taking good care of the positive qualities of sound.
A challenge with the increased amount of loud speaker distributed sound in the public space is that we don’t have visual contact with the sound source. A central concept taking into account the relation between visual and “audio” information is namned “akusmatik” (acousmatic).
A new trend is shops and boutiques playing music in the streets. Here is no clear legal framework handling this situation, as there is with regards to “traditional” building permits.
A public place which sounds good is not necessarily quiet, but rather by having sounds related to the place and the activities taking place there, you can make the space sound good.
Read the full article here!

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