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?

The Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Box 414, SE-405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
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

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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.

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