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Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13920-13946; doi:10.3390/su71013920

The Influence of Low-Frequency Noise Pollution on the Quality of Life and Place in Sustainable Cities: A Case Study from Northern Portugal

1
Lab2PT—Landscape, Heritage and Territory Laboratory, University of Minho, Campus de Azurém, 4800-058 Guimarães, Portugal
2
CTAC—Centre for Territory, Environment and Construction, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Minho, Campus Gualtar, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Tan Yigitcanlar
Received: 8 June 2015 / Revised: 7 September 2015 / Accepted: 23 September 2015 / Published: 19 October 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planning, Development and Management of Sustainable Cities)

Abstract

Discussing urban planning requires rethinking sustainability in cities and building healthy environments. Historically, some aspects of advancing the urban way of life have not been considered important in city planning. This is particularly the case where technological advances have led to conflicting land use, as with the installation of power poles and building electrical substations near residential areas. This research aims to discuss and rethink sustainability in cities, focusing on the environmental impact of low-frequency noise and electromagnetic radiation on human health. It presents data from a case study in an urban space in northern Portugal, and focuses on four guiding questions: Can power poles and power lines cause noise? Do power poles and power lines cause discomfort? Do power poles and power lines cause discomfort due to noise? Can power poles and power lines affect human health? To answer these questions, we undertook research between 2014 and 2015 that was comprised of two approaches. The first approach consisted of evaluating the noise of nine points divided into two groups “near the source” (e.g., up to 50 m from power poles) and “away from the source” (e.g., more than 250 m away from the source). In the second approach, noise levels were measured for 72 h in houses located up to 20 m from the source. The groups consist of residents living within the distance range specified for each group. The measurement values were compared with the proposed criteria for assessing low-frequency noise using the DEFRA Guidance (University of Salford). In the first approach, the noise caused discomfort, regardless of the group. In the second approach, the noise had fluctuating characteristics, which led us to conclude that the noise caused discomfort. View Full-Text
Keywords: noise pollution; low-frequency noise; DEFRA; human well-being; sustainability; power poles noise pollution; low-frequency noise; DEFRA; human well-being; sustainability; power poles
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. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Alves, J.A.; Silva, L.T.; Remoaldo, P.C.C. The Influence of Low-Frequency Noise Pollution on the Quality of Life and Place in Sustainable Cities: A Case Study from Northern Portugal. Sustainability 2015, 7, 13920-13946.

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