Thursday, April 21, 2016

How Does Noise in the City Affect Its Residents?

How City Noise Affects Residents' Health (The Atlantic , Mar. 1, 2016)

 Also discussed here: Noise and the City Blog

And here: Greater Boston Neighborhood Noise Survey (Noise and the City)

And here: Pinpointing the Health Impacts of Urban Noise

Today we review progress on a project by a PhD candidate at Harvard School of Public Health to measure and monitor the noise in neighbourhoods of a large American city (Boston) as well as conduct a survey of residents to assess their reaction to noise. The noises include traditional road noise from traffic, as well as the hidden ones such as vibrations and low frequency noises from underground subways or idling trucks. While we await her thesis, those interested in the project can follow progress at her blog at .

Boston_ Monitoring and Surveying at a Glance - Noiseandthecity.org_Page_1 boston noice map-big    

Key Quotes:

 “aim is to measure just how loud different neighborhoods, streets, even crosswalks are. At the same time, she asks residents to fill out surveys about the impact city noises have on their lives and sanity.”

“Noise is insidious…It affects you acutely, but also long-term. This is something that people don’t really talk about, but something people really suffer from.”

low-frequency noise may be the most insidious. The subway train rolling underneath one’s feet, the airplane taking off, an idling diesel truck or city bus—these are the frequencies that are often more of a vibration than an audible sound,”

“We shouldn’t just throw out components that we think they don’t hear, we should consider the whole spectrum…And we should ask the community what they’re bothered by. If you’re going into a community and you’re monitoring noise, you need to ask them, what’s bothering you? Then you can make connections between noise and health.”

“Walker plans to create a “perceived noise map,” which compares the perceptions of Boston residents to the readings she’s taken with her decibel meter. Eventually, a noise value could be assigned to every residence in Boston.” “Cities will never be quiet..But they can be quieter.”

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