Project description

City soundscape and sense of place in the planning context

No landscape is mute. Trees rustle, waters splash, the wind is humming, birds sing. Within urban landscape there is noise of traffic, people talking, music playing, horns honking. Some sounds are pleasant, others are irritating and distressing. There are sounds that relax and sounds that pleasantly stimulate. Sound is an integral part of any landscape, whether natural or human-built. The majority of studies on landscape perception have been focusing on perception through the vision. Sight is the most important channel of the incoming information and pictures are easier than sounds to administer to participants. Nevertheless, sound is an integral part of any landscape, whether natural or human-built which adds a new quality to the visual stimuli. Studies show that the effects of interaction between vision and sound depend on additional factors. However there is no systematic theoretical framework that would account for the potential interactive effects of vision and sound on the place meaning.This project crosses boundaries of different disciplines and combines at least three different disciplines: landscape architecture and urban planning (studies in landscape perception), social geography (studies of human relationships with their environment, participation of residents in local communities), and social and environmental psychology (studies of place attachment and sense of place through experimental and participatory approaches). In the first stage of the project, we are examining how different sounds (relaxing vs. exciting) presented in the context of progressive places (e.g., bustling city squares or busy streets) vs. conservative places (e.g., quiet residential neighborhoods or city parks) affect perception and evaluation of the setting.
In the second stage, we will develop planning and designing strategies for urban green spaces in order to improve acoustic environment, support their restorative function and enhance place attachment using location data from mobile phones and GPS tracking data.
In the third stage, we will explore and spatially assess the relationship between city soundscape, place attachment and environmental stewardship with the use of PPGIS survey and citizen’s budget analysis.

Research themes

Project details

  • Start date:
    February 5, 2024
  • End date:
    February 5, 2024
  • Location:
    Wrocław and Toruń, Poland
  • Funded by:
    Polish National Science Center
  • Objectives:
    This project aims to demonstrate how sound in an urban landscape affects people’s sense of place—that is, the way a place is experienced and evaluated. Two other aims of the project concern the relationships between features of an urban soundscape and people’s optional activities in urban green places, and their willingness to become involved in actions on behalf of urban places, as mediated by the sense of place. We plan three work packages (WP) that cover different aspects of the studied phenomena, using the cities of Wrocław and Toruń as two illustrative case studies.

Project contact

Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences

Participating partners

Prof. Maria Lewicka

Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń

Alex Lubiński

Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń

Prof. Szymon Szewrański

Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences

Related publications

Participatory Mapping Institute
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