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Appl. Sci. 2017, 7(1), 91; doi:10.3390/app7010091

The Personal Viewpoint on the Meaning of Tranquility Affects the Appraisal of the Urban Park Soundscape

1
Department of Information Technology, Ghent University, Research group WAVES, 9052 Ghent, Belgium
2
Equipes Traitement de l’Information et Systèmes, Université de Cergy Pontoise, 95302 Cergy-Pontoise, France
3
Department of Electroacoustics, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, University of Zagreb, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
This paper is an extended version of our paper published in Botteldooren, D.; Filipan, K.; Boes, M.; De Coensel, B. How the meaning a person gives to tranquility could affect the appraisal of the urban park soundscape. In Proceedings of the 43rd International Congress on Noise Control Engineering (Inter-Noise 2014), Melbourne, Australia, 16–19 November 2014; pp. 1–6.
Current address: iGent Technologiepark-Zwijnaarde 15, 9052 Gent, Belgium.
Current address: iGent Technologiepark-Zwijnaarde 15, 9052 Gent, Belgium.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jian Kang
Received: 30 September 2016 / Revised: 10 January 2017 / Accepted: 11 January 2017 / Published: 17 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Noise and Vibration Control in the Built Environment)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1547 KB, uploaded 17 January 2017]   |  

Abstract

Previous research has shown that tranquil areas in the city, such as urban parks, are usually perceived as positive and have a restorative effect on visitors. However, visitors could experience these spaces differently depending on the meaning they assign to the concept of tranquility. To investigate how individuals’ personal views on tranquility affect their perception of the sonic environment, a soundscape study was conducted in several city parks in Antwerp, Belgium. Mobile sound measurements were combined with a questionnaire survey amongst 660 park visitors. Within the survey, the participants’ viewpoint on tranquility was evaluated using their agreement with a set of previously established prototypical statements, categorizing them into one out of three main tranquility viewpoint groups: people that associate tranquility with silence, those that associate it with hearing natural sounds, or those that associate it with social relationships. Next to this, the sounds that participants had heard during their visit were noted, and their perception of the overall quality of the soundscape and the degree to which it matched their expectation were assessed. Results show that the park visitors who associate tranquility with natural sounds or to silence are more often found amongst those that report hearing mechanical sounds a lot. The same groups of visitors rate the overall quality of the sonic environment of the park more often bad to very bad. These findings suggest that park visitors pay attention more to the sounds they do not expect to hear, and that the higher their expectations about the soundscape, the more critical they become in their appraisal of the soundscape. View Full-Text
Keywords: soundscape; tranquil areas; urban parks; personal viewpoint soundscape; tranquil areas; urban parks; personal viewpoint
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Filipan, K.; Boes, M.; De Coensel, B.; Lavandier, C.; Delaitre, P.; Domitrović, H.; Botteldooren, D. The Personal Viewpoint on the Meaning of Tranquility Affects the Appraisal of the Urban Park Soundscape. Appl. Sci. 2017, 7, 91.

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