Engagement towards a framework for valuing soundscape in urban public spaces

Dr John Nellthorp, Institute for Transport Studies, Faculty of Environment

Responsive Mode Impact Fund

Sound environment contributes to the quality of public urban spaces, and thus the social, economic and health benefits that people obtain from them. The growing field of soundscape research has shown that noise-based measurements alone do not reflect the sound environment quality as perceived by people, especially in public urban spaces where the sound environments are usually more complex with both positive and negative sounds.

However, valuation of impacts from the sound environment, which is used to inform public investment and resource allocation, is currently noise-based, and mainly focuses on impacts at residential locations. There is therefore a need to understand the value of soundscape in public urban spaces and to bring forward methods to value it.

The project, a collaboration between UoL, Defra and UCL, will apply knowledge and methods developed in our noise valuation and soundscape evaluation research, to develop the framework for a toolkit to value soundscape in public urban spaces, engaging stakeholders from policy sectors, academia and citizens, through a series of workshops. The framework can help shape new national methodology of noise valuation integrating a soundscape approach, and thus generate societal and economic impacts by enabling improved cost-benefit analysis for public investment and resource allocation.

Dr John Nellthorp can be contacted by email: J.Nellthorp@its.leeds.ac.uk