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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2012, 9(4), 1030-1050; doi:10.3390/ijerph9041030

Quiet Areas and the Need for Quietness in Amsterdam

Received: 8 March 2012 / Revised: 15 March 2012 / Accepted: 19 March 2012 / Published: 23 March 2012
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This paper describes the Quiet Places Project in Amsterdam. The purpose of the study was to find out: (1) which public quiet places there are according to Amsterdam residents; (2) what characterizes a quiet place; (3) to what extent do residents want peace and quiet; (4) how do residents realize these needs. The factors determining the need for quietness are presented in a model showing the influence of demographic and socio-economic issues, health status, sensitiveness to noise, daily activities and the noisiness in and around home. Most important of these factors is sensitivity to noise. Elderly and less healthy people are more often sensitive to noise. People who are annoyed by sound from traffic, airplanes and the like show a higher need for quietness. People with a lively household or neighbourhood report lower needs for quietness. Visiting a quiet place and going outside to walk or bike can have a compensating effect on the need for quietness. This suggests that creating quiet places and enhancing possibilities for quiet recreation in urban environments can have a positive effect on the quality of life in the city. Objective noise levels at the quiet places were taken from environmental noise maps. This shows that there may be a preference for low transportation noise levels, but levels up to 60 dB Lday are acceptable. Apparently this depends on a relative quietness or on non-acoustic characteristics of an area: the presence of vegetation and other pleasant stimuli.
Keywords: quietness; tranquillity; noise; health; soundscape; urban planning; area quality quietness; tranquillity; noise; health; soundscape; urban planning; area quality
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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Booi, H.; van den Berg, F. Quiet Areas and the Need for Quietness in Amsterdam. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2012, 9, 1030-1050.

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