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Article

Listening to Japanese Gardens: An Autoethnographic Study on the Soundscape Action Design Tool

1
Department of Work Science, Business Economics and Environmental Psychology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Slottsvägen 5, 230 53 Alnarp, Sweden
2
Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) International Research Fellow Programme, School of Cultural and Creative Studies, Aoyama Gakuin University, Shibuya, Tokyo 4-4-25, Japan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(23), 4648; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16234648
Received: 19 June 2019 / Revised: 1 November 2019 / Accepted: 3 November 2019 / Published: 22 November 2019
Landscape architecture and urban design disciplines could benefit from soundscape thinking in order to enhance experiential qualities in their projects, though the available tools are not yet fully developed nor tested. The present research aims to substantiate one of the available tools, Soundscape Actions, and thereby increase the understanding of soundscape design. The study focuses on the Japanese garden tradition, which is known for high preference ratings, tranquil qualities and consideration for sound and other sensory experiences. An autoethnographic approach was used to conduct field studies in 88 gardens in Japan, the majority of which are located in urban areas with potential noise disturbance. The studies are based on observations in situ, supported by video documentation, field recordings and readings of sound pressure levels (SPL). A total of 19 Soundscape Actions are described and discussed in the paper. They are structured around three main categories: localisation of functions, reduction of unwanted sounds and introduction of wanted sounds. The study provides concrete examples of how the tool can be used to enhance tranquil qualities, particularly focusing on small green spaces in dense urban settings, involving the (simultaneous) reduction of unwanted sounds and enhancement of wanted sounds/effects. The autoethnographic approach allowed for the phenomenological perspective to be brought forward, which contributed new insights regarding the design tool. The findings are discussed in relation to health and soundscape research, focusing on multisensory experiences, masking strategies and potentials for implementation and future developments of the design tool. View Full-Text
Keywords: soundscape design; sonic experience; tranquillity; noise; garden therapy; landscape architecture; Japanese gardens; autoethnography; soundscape actions soundscape design; sonic experience; tranquillity; noise; garden therapy; landscape architecture; Japanese gardens; autoethnography; soundscape actions
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cerwén, G. Listening to Japanese Gardens: An Autoethnographic Study on the Soundscape Action Design Tool. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 4648. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16234648

AMA Style

Cerwén G. Listening to Japanese Gardens: An Autoethnographic Study on the Soundscape Action Design Tool. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2019; 16(23):4648. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16234648

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cerwén, Gunnar. 2019. "Listening to Japanese Gardens: An Autoethnographic Study on the Soundscape Action Design Tool" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 16, no. 23: 4648. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16234648

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