Skip to content
BY-NC-ND 3.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access August 30, 2016

Urban park soundscape in distinct sociocultural and geographical contexts

  • Antonio Carlos Lobo Soares and J. Luis Bento Coelho
From the journal Noise Mapping


The importance of soundscape in urban public parks has galvanised researchers concerned with improving the sound environment in cities. Existing literature reveals, however, a relative paucity of studies on soundscape in particular sociocultural and environmental contexts, and on the influence of these contexts in the perception of the urban sound space.Within this framework, this paper investigates the soundscape of parks in the cities of Belém, Brazil, and Lisbon, Portugal. The influence of geography and climate as determinant of activities and behaviors, the emission of natural and man-made sounds that characterise the soundscape of urban parks, the way park users evaluate the quality of sound environments were analysed, as were other elements that contribute for such an appreciation. The methodology encompassed sound measurements inside and outside the parks, analysis of the audibility of identifiable sound sources, study of local uses and activities through soundwalks and interviews, and assessment of responses to enquiries. The results shows that the soundscape of park depends on different features such as geography, climate, urban architecture, park infrastructure, sound sources, and most importantly the visitors’ expectations for the planned activities, together with their other sensorial responses, which proved to be different in distinct sociocultural and environmental contexts.


[1] United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision, Volume I: Comprehensive Tables. ST/ESA/SER.A/313, 2011 Search in Google Scholar

[2] W. Passchier-Vermeer,W. F. Passchier, Noise exposure and public health, Env. Heal. Perspect, 108 (2000), 123–131 10.1289/ehp.00108s1123Search in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

[3] European Environmental Agency. Good practice guide on noise exposure and potential health effects. EAA Technical Report, N.º 11/2010, (2010). Search in Google Scholar

[4] World Health Organization, Night Noise Guidelines (NNGL) for Europe. WHO Report, 2009 Search in Google Scholar

[5] World Health Organization, Burden of disease from environmental noise. Copenhagen: WHO Regional Oflce for Europe, 2011 Search in Google Scholar

[6] I. Van Kamp, R. Klaeboe, A. L. Brown, P. Lercher, Soundscapes, Human Restoration and Quality of Life. In Soundscape and the Built Environment, J. Kang and B. Schulte-fortkamp (Eds.) CRC Press, 2016, 43–68 10.1201/b19145-4Search in Google Scholar

[7] P. Lercher, I. Van Kamp, E. Von Lindern, D. Botteldooren, Perceived Soundscapes and Health-Related Quality of Life, Context, Restoration, and Personal Characteristics. In Soundscape and the Built Environment, J. Kang and B. Schulte-Fortkamp (Eds.), CRC Press, 2016, 89–131 10.1201/b19145-6Search in Google Scholar

[8] G. Brambilla, V. Gallo, F. Asdrubali, F. D’Alessandro, The perceived quality of soundscape in three urban parks in Rome, J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 134,1 (2013), 832–839 10.1121/1.4807811Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[9] G. Brambilla, L. Maffei, L. De Gregorio, M. Masullo, M.. Soundscape in the old town of Naples: Signs of cultural identity, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 120 (2006), 3237 10.1121/1.4788250Search in Google Scholar

[10] R. Pheasant, K. Horoshenkov, G. Watts, The acoustic and visual factors influencing the construction of tranquil space in urban and rural environments tranquil spaces-quiet places, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 123 (2008), 1446–1457 10.1121/1.2831735Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[11] M. E. Nilsson, J. Y. Jeon, M. Radsten-Ekman, O. Axelsson, J. Y. Hong, H. S. Jang, A sound walk study on the relationship between soundscape and overall quality of urban outdoor places. In Proceedings of the Acoustics 2012 Hong Kong Conference and Exhibition, Hong Kong, 2012 10.1121/1.4709105Search in Google Scholar

[12] J. Kang, M. Zhang, Semantic differential analysis of the soundscape in urban open public spaces, Build. Environ., 45, 1 (2010), 150–157 10.1016/j.buildenv.2009.05.014Search in Google Scholar

[13] R. M. Schafer, The Tuning of the World, Knopf, New York, USA, 1977 Search in Google Scholar

[14] J. Kang, Urban Sound Environment, Taylor & Francis Incorporating Spon, London, UK, 2007 10.1260/135101007781448000Search in Google Scholar

[15] International Organization for Standardization, (2014). ISO 12913-1:2014 Acoustics — Soundscape — Part 1: Definition and conceptual framework. Geneva: ISO. Search in Google Scholar

[16] A. L. Brown, A. Muhar. An approach to the acoustic design of outdoor space. J. Environ. Plan. Manage. 47, 6 (2004), 827–842 10.1080/0964056042000284857Search in Google Scholar

[17] J. L. Bento Coelho, Approaches to Urban Soundscape Management, Planning, and Design, in Soundscape and the Built Environment, J. Kang and B. Schulte-Fortkamp (Eds.), CRC Press, 2016, 197–214 10.1201/b19145-9Search in Google Scholar

[18] A. L. Brown, J. Kang, T. Gjestland, Towards standardization in soundscape preference assessment, Appl. Acoust., 72, 6 (2011), 387–392 10.1016/j.apacoust.2011.01.001Search in Google Scholar

[19] A. L. Brown, T. Gjestland, D. Dubois, Acoustic Environments and Soundscapes. In Soundscape and the Built Environment, J. Kang and B. Schulte-Fortkamp (Eds.) CRC Press, 2016, 1–16 10.1201/b19145-2Search in Google Scholar

[20] A. C. Lobo Soares, T. C. C. Coelho, F. M. Costa, J. L. Bento Coelho, Soundscape analysis of the urban public parks in the Brazilian Amazon, Proceedings of the 41st International Congress and Exposition on Noise Control Engineering (Internoise) (2012, New York City, USA) Search in Google Scholar

[21] J. Liu, J. Kang, H. Behm, T. Luo, Effects of landscape on soundscape perception: Soundwalks in city parks. Landsc. Urban Plan., 123 (2014), 30–40 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2013.12.003Search in Google Scholar

[22] M. Boubezari, J. L. Bento Coelho, The limit of audibility as a perceptive criterion for qualitative maps. In Proceedings of ACUSTICA 2004 (2004, Guimarães, Portugal) Search in Google Scholar

[23] M. Boubezari, J. L. Bento Coelho, Masking method for qualitative sound maps, Proc. ICSV12 (2005, Lisbon, Portugal), 0605 Search in Google Scholar

[24] M. Zhang, J. Kang, Towards the evaluation, description and creation of soundscape in urban open spaces, Environ. Plan. B Plan. Des., 34, 1 (2007), 68–86 10.1068/b31162Search in Google Scholar

[25] Ö. Axelsson, M. E. Nilsson, B. Berglund, A principal components model of soundscape perception, J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 128, 5 (2010), 2836–2846 10.1121/1.3493436Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[26] International Organization for Standardization, ISO 1996: Acoustics—Description, measurement and assessment of environmental noise—Part 1: Basic quantities and assessment procedures, 2003; Part 2: Determination of environmental noise levels, 2007 Search in Google Scholar

[27] CERTU/SETRA/LCPC/CSTB (1997), NMPB-Routes-96, Bruit des infrastructures routières, méthode de calcul incluant les effets météorologiques Search in Google Scholar

[28] International Organization for Standardization, ISO. 1993. ISO 9613: Attenuation of sound during propagation outdoors. Part 1 (1993): Calculation of the absorption of sound by the atmosphere. Part 2 (1996): General method of calculation Search in Google Scholar

[29] K. Genuit, Psychoacoustics and its benefit for the soundscape approach, Special Issue on Soundscapes of Acta Acustica united with Acustica, 92 (2006), 952–958 Search in Google Scholar

[30] B. Schulte-Fortkamp, A. Fiebig, Soundscape analysis in a residential area: an evaluation combining noise and people’s mind, Acta Acust., special issue on soundscapes, 96, 6 (2006), 875– 880 Search in Google Scholar

[31] J. Kang, B. Schulte-Fortkamp, A. Fiebig, D. Botteldooren, Mapping Soundscape. In Soundscape and the Built Environment, J. Kang and B. Schulte-Fortkamp (Eds.) CRC Press, 2016, 161–195 10.1201/b19145-8Search in Google Scholar

Received: 2016-6-9
Accepted: 2016-8-8
Published Online: 2016-8-30

©2016 A. C. Lobo Soares and J. L. Bento Coelho

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License.

Downloaded on 24.9.2023 from
Scroll to top button