Soundscape in Urban Forests

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Urban Forestry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 November 2022) | Viewed by 30017

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Guest Editor
School of Architecture and Urban-Rural Planning, Fuzhou University, Fuzhou 350108, China
Interests: soundscape; lightscape; audio-visual interaction; urban planning; landscape design; signal processing; deep learning; augmented reality(AR)
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Guest Editor
School of Architecture and Urban-Rural Planning, Fuzhou University, Fuzhou 350108, China
Interests: multi-sensory landscape experience and mechanism; soundscape design and soundscape resource management; landsenses ecology; ecological planning and design
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The World Health Organization (WHO) to reduce citizens' exposure to community noise in urban and suburban areas. Urban forests contribute to a healthy environment for the public in high-density cities. Soundscape plays a positive health-related role in urban areas, especially natural soundscape in urban forests. The effects are not limited to psychological and physical rehabilitation, but also have ecological significance, such as protecting the acoustic environment for animal communication in forested areas. Additionally, soundscape perception is closely related to other perceptions, contributing to the visiting experience in urban forests. These facts demonstrate that soundscapes in urban forests have profound connotations worth further exploration.

Thus, we propose this Special Issue “Soundscape in Urban Forests”. We welcome submissions of original research articles, reports or technical notes, reviews, and mini-reviews covering, topics including but not limited to the following:

  • Ecological pattern and process of forest soundscape;
  • Boundary effects and perceptual topology;
  • Natural soundscape and human health;
  • Experience of multi-sensory interaction;
  • Environmental behavior and cognitive disposition;
  • Soundscape resource management in forests.

Dr. Xin-Chen Hong 
Prof. Dr. Jiang Liu
Prof. Dr. Guangyu Wang
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • natural soundscape
  • ecological pattern of soundscape
  • multi-sensory interaction
  • soundscape resource management
  • environmental behavior
  • environmental health

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Editorial

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7 pages, 652 KiB  
Editorial
Soundscape in Urban Forests
by Xin-Chen Hong, Jiang Liu and Guang-Yu Wang
Forests 2022, 13(12), 2056; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13122056 - 3 Dec 2022
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 1454
Abstract
The World Health Organization (WHO) has made considerable efforts to reduce citizens’ exposure to community noise in urban and suburban areas [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soundscape in Urban Forests)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

13 pages, 2722 KiB  
Article
The Physiological Restorative Role of Soundscape in Different Forest Structures
by Xin-Chen Hong, Shi Cheng, Jiang Liu, Emily Dang, Jia-Bing Wang and Yuning Cheng
Forests 2022, 13(11), 1920; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13111920 - 15 Nov 2022
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 1972
Abstract
Natural soundscape is considered a dominant type of hearing in forested areas and contributes to health and recovery effects from exposure to the biophilic outdoor environment. This study focuses on the different forest structures, and aims to explore the relationship between perceived soundscape [...] Read more.
Natural soundscape is considered a dominant type of hearing in forested areas and contributes to health and recovery effects from exposure to the biophilic outdoor environment. This study focuses on the different forest structures, and aims to explore the relationship between perceived soundscape and acoustical parameters, observe physiological indicators, and model the physiological restorative role of soundscape. Questionnaires and measuring equipment were used to gather psychophysical and physiological information at 20 observation sites in urban forested areas. Back-propagation neural network techniques were conducted to determine the forecasting model from psychophysical to physiological parameters. Our results suggested that LAeq and L10 are important factors that influence questionnaire responses. Our findings also showed that electromyogram (EMG) signals were the most obvious and sensitive in physiological parameters. Additionally, we found that L10–90 played the most important role among all physical parameters in the physiological restorativeness soundscape model. This can facilitate the understanding of the physiological restorative role of soundscape in different forest structures when proposing suitable forest-based health care strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soundscape in Urban Forests)
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18 pages, 4672 KiB  
Article
Temporal and Spatial Characteristics of Soundscape Ecology in Urban Forest Areas and Its Landscape Spatial Influencing Factors
by Yujie Zhao, Shaowei Xu, Ziluo Huang, Wenqiang Fang, Shanjun Huang, Peilin Huang, Dulai Zheng, Jiaying Dong, Ziru Chen, Chen Yan, Yukun Zhong and Weicong Fu
Forests 2022, 13(11), 1751; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13111751 - 24 Oct 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2507
Abstract
We explored the spatial and temporal characteristics of the urban forest area soundscape by setting up monitoring points (70 × 70 m grid) covering the study area, recorded a total of 52 sound sources, and the results showed that: (1) The soundscape composition [...] Read more.
We explored the spatial and temporal characteristics of the urban forest area soundscape by setting up monitoring points (70 × 70 m grid) covering the study area, recorded a total of 52 sound sources, and the results showed that: (1) The soundscape composition of the park is dominated by natural sounds and recreational sounds. (2) The diurnal variation of sound sources is opposite to that of temperature, 6:00–9:00 is the best time for the public to perceive birdsong, and after 18:00, the park is dominated by insect chirps. (3) The PSD (power spectral density) and the SDI (soundscape diversity index) of the park are greatly affected by public recreation behaviors, and some recreation behaviors may affect the vocal behavior of organisms such as birds. (4) Spaces with high canopy density can attract more birdsong and recreational sounds in summer, and the combination of “tree + lake” can attract more birdsong. Vegetation has a significant dampening effect on traffic sound. (5) Landscape spatial elements, such as the proportion of hard ground, sky, trees, and shrubs, have a significant impact on changes in the PSD, the SDI and different kinds of sound sources. The research results provide effective data support for improving the soundscape of urban forests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soundscape in Urban Forests)
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20 pages, 4072 KiB  
Article
Before Becoming a World Heritage: Spatiotemporal Dynamics and Spatial Dependency of the Soundscapes in Kulangsu Scenic Area, China
by Zhu Chen, Tian-Yuan Zhu, Jiang Liu and Xin-Chen Hong
Forests 2022, 13(9), 1526; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13091526 - 19 Sep 2022
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 2138
Abstract
Kulangsu is a famous scenic area in China and a World Heritage Site. It is important to obtain knowledge with regard to the status of soundscape and landscape resources and their interrelationships in Kulangsu before it became a World Heritage. The objective of [...] Read more.
Kulangsu is a famous scenic area in China and a World Heritage Site. It is important to obtain knowledge with regard to the status of soundscape and landscape resources and their interrelationships in Kulangsu before it became a World Heritage. The objective of this study was to explore the spatial dependency of the soundscapes in Kulangsu, based on the spatiotemporal dynamics of soundscape and landscape perceptions, including perceived sound sources, soundscape quality, and landscape satisfaction degree, and the spatial landscape characteristics, including the distance to green spaces, normalized difference vegetation index, and landscape spatial patterns. The results showed that perception of soundscape and landscape were observed in significant spatiotemporal dynamics, and the dominance of biological sounds in all sampling periods and human sounds in the evening indicated that Kulangsu scenic area had a good natural environment and a developed night-time economy, respectively. The green spaces and commercial lands may contribute to both the soundscape pleasantness and eventfulness. Moreover, the soundscape quality was dependent on the sound dominant degree and landscape satisfaction degree but not on the landscape characteristics. The GWR model had better goodness of fit than the OLS model, and possible non-linear relationships were found between the soundscape pleasantness and the variables of perceived sound sources and landscape satisfaction degree. The GWR models with spatial stationarity were found to be more effective in understanding the spatial dependence of soundscapes. In particular, the data applied should ideally include a complete temporal dimension to obtain a relatively high fitting accuracy of the model. These findings can provide useful data support and references for future planning and design practices, and management strategies for the soundscape resources in scenic areas and World Heritage Sites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soundscape in Urban Forests)
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16 pages, 2408 KiB  
Article
Effects of Soundscapes on Human Physiology and Psychology in Qianjiangyuan National Park System Pilot Area in China
by Peng Wang, Youjun He, Wenjuan Yang, Nan Li and Jiaojiao Chen
Forests 2022, 13(9), 1461; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13091461 - 11 Sep 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2263
Abstract
The development of China’s national parks is still in the initial stage, and few scholars have studied the effects of soundscapes on human physiology and psychology from the perspective of the auditory senses in national parks. In this study, the Qianjiangyuan National Park [...] Read more.
The development of China’s national parks is still in the initial stage, and few scholars have studied the effects of soundscapes on human physiology and psychology from the perspective of the auditory senses in national parks. In this study, the Qianjiangyuan National Park System Pilot Area was taken as the research subject, physiological indicators of subjects were collected through a biopAC-MP150 multi-channel physiological instrument data platform, and the subjective psychological response of soundscapes was measured using a Likert scale. The results showed that the sound of water had the most significant effect on the heart rate and respiratory rate of the subjects. Agricultural sound had the greatest impact on the skin conduction levels, while conversation had the least overall impact on human physiology. There were significant differences in comfort, excitement, and significance among the different soundscapes (p < 0.001). The sounds of insects are more likely to elicit feelings of comfort and excitement, while the sounds of birds are more likely to arouse curiosity. No significant correlation was observed between the physiological indices and psychological indices. The study on the effects of different soundscapes on human physiology and psychology in China’s national parks will provide a basis for the decision makers of national parks to formulate more effective planning, design, and management policies regarding soundscapes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soundscape in Urban Forests)
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19 pages, 6376 KiB  
Article
Network Text Analysis of Visitors’ Perception of Multi-Sensory Interactive Experience in Urban Forest Parks in China
by Jian Xu, Jingling Xu, Ziyang Gu, Guangwei Chen, Muchun Li and Zhicai Wu
Forests 2022, 13(9), 1451; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13091451 - 9 Sep 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2474
Abstract
Urban forest parks play a crucial role in contributing to the urban environment, residential well-being, and social welfare. Visitors’ perception of multi-sensory interactive experiences in urban forest parks is an important source of information for landscape planning. Whilst data elicited from visitors via [...] Read more.
Urban forest parks play a crucial role in contributing to the urban environment, residential well-being, and social welfare. Visitors’ perception of multi-sensory interactive experiences in urban forest parks is an important source of information for landscape planning. Whilst data elicited from visitors via questionnaires are temporally and spatially restricted, online media provide a public platform for the direct and comprehensive expression of park experiences beyond such restrictions. To look into visitors’ multi-sensory interactive experiences in an urban forest park in China, a total of 7447 reviews of such were collected from four authoritative online platforms using Python, and the ROSTCM tool was used to generate semantic and social networks out of the data set. The results showed that urban forest park visitors’ sensory experiences are dominated by visual and olfactory perceptions, followed by audio-visual and visual-tactile interactions. Among them, visual perception displays the highest degree of specificity and diversity, while tactile and gustatory perceptions are relatively infrequent and singular. The landscapes that affect visitors’ perceptual preferences mainly include floriculture, green vegetation, soundscapes, and sanitation utilities. Moreover, both the fresh air and the agreeable environment have a significant positive impact on visitors’ perceptions. The above findings not only have practical implications for the landscape planning and design of urban forest parks, but also provide theoretical insights into the evaluation of natural landscapes in urban forest parks from the perspective of tourists’ multi-sensory experiences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soundscape in Urban Forests)
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22 pages, 4590 KiB  
Article
Multi-Sensory Experience and Preferences for Children in an Urban Forest Park: A Case Study of Maofeng Mountain Forest Park in Guangzhou, China
by Jian Xu, Lingyi Chen, Tingru Liu, Tao Wang, Muchun Li and Zhicai Wu
Forests 2022, 13(9), 1435; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13091435 - 8 Sep 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3103
Abstract
This study developed an analysis based on children’s multi-sensory experiences and preferences in urban forest park to make practical suggestions for the design of children’s activity areas. Taking Maofeng Mountain Forest Park in Guangzhou, Guangdong province as a case study, based on a [...] Read more.
This study developed an analysis based on children’s multi-sensory experiences and preferences in urban forest park to make practical suggestions for the design of children’s activity areas. Taking Maofeng Mountain Forest Park in Guangzhou, Guangdong province as a case study, based on a face-to-face survey and online questionnaire survey, this study analyzed children’s multi-sensory landscape preferences in the park and explored the influence of multi-sensory experiences on children’s behavioral experience by establishing a structural equation model. The results reveal that visual, auditory, tactile and olfactory sensations were significantly correlated with children’s behavioral experiences. In terms of landscape preference, children preferred landscapes in blue-green tones, original building materials and challenging entertainment programs. Based on these analysis results, the design recommendations for children’s activity areas in urban forest parks are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soundscape in Urban Forests)
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16 pages, 3555 KiB  
Article
Audio-Visual Analysis of Visitors’ Landscape Preference for City Parks: A Case Study from Zhangzhou, China
by Yonghong Gan, Yibin Zheng and Lihui Zhang
Forests 2022, 13(9), 1376; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13091376 - 28 Aug 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2110
Abstract
Soundscape perception is increasingly recognized as an important part of landscape preference and environmental experience. However, few studies have juxtaposed visual landscape preference and soundscape preference to compare their contributions to overall landscape preference. This paper aims to quantify and compare the contribution [...] Read more.
Soundscape perception is increasingly recognized as an important part of landscape preference and environmental experience. However, few studies have juxtaposed visual landscape preference and soundscape preference to compare their contributions to overall landscape preference. This paper aims to quantify and compare the contribution of audiovisual perception to visitors’ overall park landscape preference. The landscape preferences of visitors at seven sample sites in a city park were investigated through field questionnaires in three dimensions: visual landscape, acoustic landscape, and audiovisual landscape. The results showed that visitors’ visual landscape preference (VLP = 7.53) was generally higher than soundscape preference (SP = 7.08), while the influence of auditory preference (57%) on overall landscape preference (OLP) was found to be greater than that of visual preference (43%). The ratio of audio/visual contribution to the overall landscape preference decreased as the average sound level of the sample sites increased. Of all the population characteristics, only the educational level (sig = 0.034) could be used as an effective predictor of OLP (Impact coefficient = −0.103). In addition, older visitors rated OLP lower than young visitors, and females rated OLP lower than males. It was found that visual harmony, color richness, color contrast, plant coverage, and plant diversity were the main visual landscape attributes that influenced visitors’ visual preferences, while acoustic harmony, quietness, sound vitality, and acoustic richness were the main soundscape attributes that impacts visitors’ auditory preference. The results of this study may be useful for park landscape design and regeneration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soundscape in Urban Forests)
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17 pages, 2049 KiB  
Article
Improving Soundscape Comfort in Urban Green Spaces Based on Aural-Visual Interaction Attributes of Landscape Experience
by Yuhan Shao, Yiying Hao, Yuting Yin, Yu Meng and Zhenying Xue
Forests 2022, 13(8), 1262; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13081262 - 10 Aug 2022
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3016
Abstract
The importance of multi-sensory perception in constructing human landscape experiences has been increasingly emphasized in contemporary urban life. The aim of this study is to explore aural-visual interaction attributes that may influence people’s perceived overall soundscape comfort in urban green spaces (UGSs). To [...] Read more.
The importance of multi-sensory perception in constructing human landscape experiences has been increasingly emphasized in contemporary urban life. The aim of this study is to explore aural-visual interaction attributes that may influence people’s perceived overall soundscape comfort in urban green spaces (UGSs). To achieve this, a total of 12 perceptive indicators were identified from the existing literature to evaluate people’s perceived visual and acoustic attributes and types of sound sources, and their relations to the perceived soundscape comfort. 268 responses were obtained in a questionnaire-based survey conducted in five UGSs in Chengdu Outer Ring Ecological Zone. This was done whilst a typical objective acoustic indicator, sound level, was used as a mediator for potential changes on these relations within different sound level ranges. Results suggested that a low level of environmental sound does not correspond to higher ratings on the overall soundscape comfort. It was also found that the environmental sound level of 77 dBA was a turning point in the relation between people’s soundscape comfort and its influential indicators in UGSs. A set of six models was then provided to describe the overall soundscape comfort and its contributing indicators in aural-visual interactions, respectively, in sound level ranges below and above 77dBA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soundscape in Urban Forests)
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18 pages, 4785 KiB  
Article
Effects of Forest on Birdsong and Human Acoustic Perception in Urban Parks: A Case Study in Nigeria
by Mary Nwankwo, Qi Meng, Da Yang and Fangfang Liu
Forests 2022, 13(7), 994; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13070994 - 24 Jun 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2302
Abstract
The quality of the natural sound environment is important for the well-being of humans and for urban sustainability. Therefore, it is important to study how the soundscape of the natural environment affects humans with respect to the different densities of vegetation, and how [...] Read more.
The quality of the natural sound environment is important for the well-being of humans and for urban sustainability. Therefore, it is important to study how the soundscape of the natural environment affects humans with respect to the different densities of vegetation, and how this affects the frequency of singing events and the sound pressure levels of common birds that generate natural sounds in a commonly visited urban park in Abuja, Nigeria. This study involves the recording of birdsongs, the measurement of sound pressure levels, and a questionnaire evaluation of sound perception and the degree of acoustic comfort in the park. Acoustic comfort, which affects humans, describes the fundamental feelings of users towards the acoustic environment. The results show that first, there is a significant difference between the frequency of singing events of birds for each category of vegetation density (low, medium, and high density) under cloudy and sunny weather conditions, but there is no significant difference during rainy weather. Secondly, the measured sound pressure levels of the birdsongs are affected by vegetation density. This study shows a significant difference between the sound pressure levels of birdsongs and the vegetation density under cloudy, sunny, and rainy weather conditions. In addition, the frequency of singing events of birds is affected by the sound pressure levels of birdsongs with respect to different vegetation densities under different weather conditions. Thirdly, the results from the respondents (N = 160) in this study indicated that the acoustic perception of the park was described as being pleasant, vibrant, eventful, calming, and not considered to be chaotic or annoying in any sense. It also shows that the human perception of birdsong in the park was moderately to strongly correlated with different densities of vegetation, and that demographics play an important role in how natural sounds are perceived in the environment under different weather conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soundscape in Urban Forests)
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16 pages, 4459 KiB  
Article
Psychophysiological Impacts of Traffic Sounds in Urban Green Spaces
by Boya Yu, Jie Bai, Linjie Wen and Yuying Chai
Forests 2022, 13(6), 960; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13060960 - 19 Jun 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2243
Abstract
The goal of this study is to investigate the psychophysiological effects of traffic sounds in urban green spaces. In a laboratory experiment, psychological and physiological responses to four traffic sounds were measured, including road, conventional train, high-speed train, and tram. The findings demonstrated [...] Read more.
The goal of this study is to investigate the psychophysiological effects of traffic sounds in urban green spaces. In a laboratory experiment, psychological and physiological responses to four traffic sounds were measured, including road, conventional train, high-speed train, and tram. The findings demonstrated that traffic sounds had significant detrimental psychological and physiological effects. In terms of psychological responses, the peak sound level outperformed the equivalent sound level in determining the psychological impact of traffic sounds. The physiological effects of traffic sounds were shown to be significantly influenced by sound type and sound level. The physiological response to the high-speed train sound differed significantly from the other three traffic sounds. The physiological effects of road traffic sounds were found to be unrelated to the sound level. On the contrary, as for the railway sounds, the change in sound level was observed to have a significant impact on the participants’ physiological indicators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soundscape in Urban Forests)
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25 pages, 9503 KiB  
Article
Audio-Visual Preferences for the Exercise-Oriented Population in Urban Forest Parks in China
by Jian Xu, Muchun Li, Ziyang Gu, Yongle Xie and Ningrui Jia
Forests 2022, 13(6), 948; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13060948 - 17 Jun 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2127
Abstract
The purpose of this study is to explore the audio-visual preferences of exercisers in urban forest parks in China and to make practical suggestions for park landscape design. Taking Beigushan Forest Park in Lianyungang City, Jiangsu Province as a case, based on field [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study is to explore the audio-visual preferences of exercisers in urban forest parks in China and to make practical suggestions for park landscape design. Taking Beigushan Forest Park in Lianyungang City, Jiangsu Province as a case, based on field research and questionnaire survey, this study analyzed the audio-visual preference characteristics of exercisers in the park, revealed the correlation between audio-visual preference and exercisers’ behaviors and individual characteristics, and explored the influence of audio-visual preferences on exercise feelings by establishing a structural equation model. It was found that (1) the forest and its avenue landscape and birdsong are most preferred by exercisers; (2) the audio-visual preferences of people with different exercise forms differ, for example, people who slowly walk, run, and briskly walk have stronger preferences for natural soundscape and visual landscape, while people who use fitness equipment have stronger inclusiveness for human activity sound and prefer public facility-based landscapes. In addition, some individual characteristics such as exercise intensity and exercise frequency significantly affect exercisers’ audio-visual preferences; (3) visual landscape preferences have a greater direct impact on exercise feelings, with natural waterscape having the greatest direct impact, but overall soundscape preferences do not have a high degree of direct impact on exercise feelings, with natural sound still having a strong positive impact. These findings provide a more quantitative basis for the landscape design of urban forest parks from the perspective of exercise behavior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soundscape in Urban Forests)
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