conferences

August 27, 2016

MCE2016CONFERENCE | The Major Cities of Europe Conference 2016 City Renaissance in the Digital Age

PLACE & TIME | Firenze (IT) May 31 – June 2 2016

ROLE | Invited speaker along with Prof. Henckel

TITLE OF THE PRESENTATION | Sense-Scapes: Quietness and Natural Darkness for the Sustainable City

ABSTRACT | Quietness and natural darkness are becoming ever-scarcer goods in cities. Therefore, the provision of areas where the quality of the sonic and light environment is addressed is an integral part of city planning for the sustainable city of the future. To fulfill this task, the mapping of noise and light polluted parts of the city and the identification of quiet and dark zones is a basic requirement. Citizen participation supported by open source tools (e.g. the hush city app & the loss of the night app) is not only helpful in identifying problematic and favorable situations but also for designing a better future. The presentation will illustrate best practices and experimental methodologies developed to achieve quietness and natural darkness in the contemporary city.

Click here for the PRESENTATION

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CONFERENCE | 4TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ARTIFICIAL LIGHT AT NIGHT

PLACE & TIME | Cluj-Napoca (Romania), September 26 – 28 2016

ROLE | Invited speaker along with Josiane Meier and Prof. Henckel

TITLE OF THE PRESENTATION | Urban Planning Challenges: Toward integrated approaches to sustainable lightscape and soundscape planning

ABSTRACT | There are substantial similarities between the effects of artificial light and noise in the outdoor environment. Light and sound are both powerful sensory stimuli that can heavily impact the natural environment as well as human well-being, quality of life and – for noise certainly, for light very likely – health. These effects are particularly concentrated in dense urban areas: they are the epicenters of the light and noise pollution in which large portions of the population are constantly immersed. The mitigation of the negative effects of artificial light and noise is thus a matter of public concern and demands responses from policy-making and planning, all the more as natural darkness and quietness are becoming ever scarcer goods in cities.
The development of approaches that are capable of adequately addressing the issues at hand is, however, no easy task. The impact of artificial light and noise can be measured and quantified, but their perception is ambivalent because it is subjective and context-dependent, making it difficult to identify general planning guidelines which refer to and deal with both quantitative and qualitative effects of light and noise.
As a necessary part of sustainable urban development, an integrated perspective is therefore needed that steps beyond the largely technical and quantitative approaches that have thus far dominated policies and planning related to light and noise issues.
The search for alternative approaches to the issue of noise pollution has a considerably longer history than the still fairly new insight that artificial lighting is not necessarily benign. Accordingly, the debate relating to noise abatement, corresponding citizens’ movements and the associated development of policies and planning tools is considerably further advanced than the search for adequate responses that address artificial lighting. The soundscape approach is of particular interest as it offers rich potential for informing the discussion related to artificial lighting: It has been developed over the past decades as a planning tool for the sonic environment in order to compensate for the dominant technical perspective: it proposes the notion of sound(scape) in extension of that one of noise(scape); it focuses on the relationship between people and the sonic environment rather than on only the sources; and it is based on both qualitative and quantitative methods of inquiry and representation.
This presentation asks which lessons could be learned from best practices in planning and policy approaches related to noise(scape) and sound(scape) issues – extending the perspective from a domination by mere technical approaches to more integrated ones – for artificial lighting – and (at least prospectively) vice versa?
To this end, the presentation will first highlight key similarities and differences between the effects of outdoor artificial lighting and noise pollution by providing a structured comparison. Against this background, it will outline an experimental methodology that is currently under development by one of the authors (Radicchi) to achieve quietness by advancing the soundscape approach, and make initial proposals regarding potentials of developing a similar approach aimed at contributing to the development of sustainable lightscapes.

Click here for the PRESENTATION

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CONFERENCE | FALLING WALLS. In the frame of the International Conference on Future Breakthroughs in Science and Society.

PLACE & TIME | Berlin (GERM), November 8 2016

ROLE | Selected speaker, Falling Walls Young Innovator of the Year 2016, Finalist

TITLE OF THE PRESENTATION | Breaking the Wall of Noise Pollution

ABSTRACT | Problem: Through the “Beyond the Noise” project I aim to improve the sonic quality of urban public spaces and reduce the harmful effects of noise pollution in Berlin areas affected by environmental injustice. Answer: To address the issue of noise pollution I aim to apply a methodology based on the “open source soundscape” approach for the analysis, assessment and planning of urban quiet areas on the local scale. Motivation: My goals are twofold: Noise pollution from road traffic affects 125 million people in Europe, negatively impacting our health, well-being, and quality of life. This trend will increase dramatically in the near future. I strongly believe our sonic environment is a burden AND a potentially rich resource. We can tap into this resource with an “open source soundscape” approach. I want to contribute so that the world is a better place to live. This is only achievable by joining a community like Falling Walls, where inspiring, original thinkers, exchange ideas and build a network for the challenging times ahead.

Click here for watching the ELEVATOR SPEECH!

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CONFERENCE | Invisible Places. Sound, Urbanism and Sense of Place

PLACE & TIME | Ponta Delgada (S. Miguel, Azores Islands), April 8 2017

ROLE | Selected speaker & paper.

TITLE OF THE PRESENTATION | The Hush City app. A new mobile application to empower citizens to identify, access and evaluate “everyday quiet areas” in their neighbourhoods.

ABSTRACT | Today, cities are becoming increasingly noisier and, in Europe alone, over 125 million people are affected by noise pollution from traffic every year. Consequently, in the past years, there has been a growing interest in protecting and planning quiet areas, which had been recognized as an important tool to reduce noise pollution by the Environmental Noise Directive in 2002. However, developing a common methodology to define and plan quiet areas especially in cities is still challenging to the point that the European Environment Agency has encouraged scholars to experiment with mixed methodologies integrating the soundscape approach into the traditional acoustic ones. Against this background, this contribution describes the framework in which the HUSH CITY app has been developed: the “Beyond the Noise: Open Source Soundscapes” project, which experiments with a novel mixed methodology based on the “open source soundscape” approach to identify, assess and plan small, quiet areas in cities, by actively involving citizens and using open source technology. Then, the state of the art of mobile apps available on the market for crowdsourcing noise & sound maps will be presented, and the advancement in the field brought about by the HUSH CITY app will be discussed. The new mobile app will then be described, providing technical details and information on the user interface and its graphic design. Lastly, the first results obtained from citizen-driven data collection on field will be presented and discussed, outlining the next steps and possible conclusions.

Click here for the presentation!

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CONFERENCE | Congress of the Italian Geographers

PLACE & TIME | Rome (IT) June 7-10 2017

ROLE | Invited speaker along with Prof. Henckel

TITLE OF THE PRESENTATION | Soundscapes and Lightscapes of the Night. Berlin/Florence

ABSTRACT | Quietness and natural darkness are becoming ever-scarcer goods in cities, especially at night. Therefore, cities have been developing policies and strategies to reduce and mitigate the impact of light and noise pollution at night on human health, quality of life and wellbeing of citizens. Notwithstanding, light and sound are rather more complex and ambivalent issues to deal with. Noise, as the negative side of sound, is well present in urban planning, as it is the case of light with its positive attributes, even if to a lesser extent. Vice versa, the positive side of sound are much less investigated, as are the negative aspects of artificial light. Moreover, sound and light have in common that they have both quantitative features – such as sound pressure levels and lighting levels – and qualitative ones, which are mediated by individual perception. However, the lack of methods to evaluate the impact on citizen perception in everyday life and the lack of integrated approaches to city pollution are still considered as demanding issues. Against this background, the “Soundscapes and Lightscapes of the Night. Berlin/Florence” project aimed to fill this gap of methodological knowledge proposing a new experimental, integrated approach to the issues of light and noise pollution at night, through a comparative pilot study conducted in the cities of Berlin and Florence. In the pilot study, we experimented with a mixed approach, integrating qualitative and quantitative methods. First, we made combined light- and soundwalks in the pilot study areas in Berlin and Florence – a combination, which had not yet been performed, as far as we know. Whereas soundwalks have a rather long history with a consistent body of literature and examples of practices, lightwalks are a much younger phenomenon. Therefore, theory and practice of soundwalking was taken as a reference for defining the new method of light- and soundwalk. Based on the experiences of these combined walks, in the pilot study areas four hot spots were identified where further qualitative analyses were undertaken, such as experimental measurements of sound and light levels, and surveys with passers-by in the street. An extensive analysis of the respective policies and political and legal frameworks in both cities were also conducted by the means of literature review and expert interviews. The results show very remarkable differences between both cities and prove the great potential of an integrated analysis of quantitative and qualitative data, especially by taking citizen perception into account. These potentials warrant further research.

Click here for the presentation!

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CONFERENCE | Acoustics 17

PLACE & TIME | Boston (USA) June 25-29 2017

ROLE | Selected speaker & paper

TITLE OF THE PRESENTATION | Beyond the Noise: Open Source Soundscapes- A mixed methodology to analyse and plan small, quiet areas on the local scale, applying the soundscape approach, the citizen science paradigm and open source technology.

ABSTRACT | Today, cities have become increasingly noisier. In Europe, over 125 million people are affected by noise pollution from traffic every year, and apparently, quietness is becoming a luxury available only for the elites. There is a growing interest in protecting and planning quiet areas, which has been recognized as a valid tool to reduce noise pollution. However, developing a common methodology to define and plan quiet areas in cities is still challenging. The “Beyond the Noise: Open Source Soundscapes” project aims to fill this gap of knowledge by applying the soundscape approach, the citizen science paradigm and open source technology, with the ultimate goal of making quietness as a commons. Accordingly, a new mixed methodology to analyse and plan small, quiet areas on the local scale has been tested through the development of a pilot study in a Berlin neighborhood affected by environmental injustice and noise pollution. In this pilot study, a number of citizens have been involved in crowdsourcing data related to “everyday quiet areas” by using novel mobile technologies. This contribution illustrates the project’s theoretical background, the methods applied, the first findings of the study and its potential impact.

Click here for the presentation!

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CONFERENCE | Built-in Health: Designing for health in the public realm – Jellicoe 2017

PLACE & TIME | Bristol, November 2 2017

ROLE | Invited short talk (via Skype)

TITLE OF THE PRESENTATION | Planning healthy and quiet cities through the soundscape approach.

ABSTRACT | This short talk originates from the interest expressed by Sarah Jones-Morris (Landsmith Associates) regarding the Hush City app and the methodology I have envisioned to deal with the lack of quietness in contemporary cities. In the framework of the Landscape Institute’s annual Jellicoe Lecture Built-in health: designing for health in the public realm, Sarah, along with Paul Driscoll (Ramboll UK Ltd/Institute of Acoustics) had the idea of organizing a (sound)walk to map and evaluate quiet spots in Bristol, by using the Hush City app. She then invited me to prepare a short talk to introduce the soundwalk and to shed some lights on my research on urban quietness, the impact of noise on human health, the importance of the soundscape approach and the Hush City app.
The main statement I’d like to deliver through this short talk is simple: healthy places in cities cannot be designed if their sonic dimension is not taken into account. Noise pollution indeed constitutes a health hazard for our mental and physical health and to take action against it is imperative. The protection of existing quiet areas and the planning of new ones is considered as a valid measure to achieve this goal. But, what kind of strategies can be adopted to identify, protect and plan urban quiet areas? After a quick discussion on the limits embedded in the quantitative method released through the Environmental Noise Directive, I introduce the soundscape approach, which can lead to a deeper and complex understanding of this issue. I also highlight the commonalities between the notions of soundscape and landscape, which constitute the premises for the successfully integration of the soundscape approach in landscape architecture to achieve the creation of healthy and quiet places. Then, I briefly outline the “open source soundscapes” methodology, and I illustrate how the Hush City app works, how the participants can use it during the walk, and how data collected through the app can be exploited in city planning processes.
Lastly, I conclude discussing how we can make sure that healthy places will not turn into gentrified and exclusive areas. The ultimate, common goal should be indeed the design of healthy, quiet and just places in our cities.

Click here for the presentation!

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Diapositiva01CONFERENCE | Konferenz Ruhige Gebiete in der Lärmaktionsplanung

PLACE & TIME | Stuttgart, 06.12.2017

ROLE | Invited speaker (with Michael Jäcker-Cüppers)

TITLE OF THE PRESENTATION | Identifizierung ruhiger Gebiete im Stadt

Click here for the presentation!

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Screen Shot 2017-12-18 at 22.28.06CONFERENCE | Acoustical Society of America 174th Fall Meeting 

PLACE & TIME | New Orleans (USA), December 7 2017

ROLE | Invited paper

TITLE OF THE PRESENTATION | Quietness as a Commons. Integrating soundscape in urban planning for the environmentally just city.

ABSTRACT | Today, urbanization and environmental pollution represent major issues of the urban planning agenda and one of the most relevant challenges is constituted by planning environmentally and socially just cities to protect human health and ensure quality of life and well-being. To achieve this goal, noise pollution and the scarcity of quietness in cities have also to be taken into account. In Europe, the importance of quiet areas has been first recognized by the 2002 Environmental Noise Directive and, since then, numerous projects have been developed by the EU Member States to define a common methodology to protect quiet areas. Notwithstanding, according to the European Environment Agency, there is still the need for in-depth research in the field. This paper argues that integrating soundscape in urban planning processes, through the paradigm of “quietness as a commons”, could significantly contribute to fill this gap of knowledge. This assumption is discussed by presenting a novel citizen-driven methodology to analyze, assess and plan urban quiet areas, implemented in a pilot study in Berlin. In detail, this paper illustrates the methods applied, the findings and the first draft of planning guidelines developed with the community to protect existing quiet areas in the pilot area.

Click here for the presentation!

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