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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(9), 3359-3375; doi:10.3390/ijerph7093359
Article

Attractive "Quiet" Courtyards: A Potential Modifier of Urban Residents' Responses to Road Traffic Noise?

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Received: 20 July 2010; in revised form: 18 August 2010 / Accepted: 25 August 2010 / Published: 30 August 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Noise and Quality of Life)
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Abstract: The present paper explores the influence of the physical environmental qualities of “quiet” courtyards (degree of naturalness and utilization) on residents’ noise responses. A questionnaire study was conducted in urban residential areas with road-traffic noise exposure between LAeq,24h 58 to 68 dB at the most exposed façade. The dwellings had “quiet” indoor section/s and faced a “quiet” outdoor courtyard (LAeq,24h < 48 dB façade reflex included). Data were collected from 385 residents and four groups were formed based on sound-level categories (58–62 and 63–68 dB) and classification of the “quiet” courtyards into groups with low and high physical environmental quality. At both sound-level categories, the results indicate that access to high-quality “quiet” courtyards is associated with less noise annoyance and noise-disturbed outdoor activities among the residents. Compared to low-quality “quiet” courtyards, high-quality courtyards can function as an attractive restorative environment providing residents with a positive soundscape, opportunities for rest, relaxation and play as well as social relations that potentially reduce the adverse effects of noise. However, access to quietness and a high-quality courtyard can only compensate partly for high sound levels at façades facing the streets, thus, 16% and 29% were still noise annoyed at 58–62 and 63–68 dB, respectively. Implications of the “quiet”-side concept are discussed.
Keywords: road-traffic noise; “quiet” side; “quiet” courtyard; annoyance; perceived soundscape; restorative environments road-traffic noise; “quiet” side; “quiet” courtyard; annoyance; perceived soundscape; restorative environments
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Gidlöf-Gunnarsson, A.; Öhrström, E. Attractive "Quiet" Courtyards: A Potential Modifier of Urban Residents' Responses to Road Traffic Noise? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7, 3359-3375.

AMA Style

Gidlöf-Gunnarsson A, Öhrström E. Attractive "Quiet" Courtyards: A Potential Modifier of Urban Residents' Responses to Road Traffic Noise? International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2010; 7(9):3359-3375.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gidlöf-Gunnarsson, Anita; Öhrström, Evy. 2010. "Attractive "Quiet" Courtyards: A Potential Modifier of Urban Residents' Responses to Road Traffic Noise?" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 7, no. 9: 3359-3375.


Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert