ijerph-logo

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Environmental Acoustics Assessments in Urban and Suburban Contexts

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 January 2023) | Viewed by 17323

Special Issue Editors

GTM—Grup de recerca en Tecnologies Mèdia, La Salle—Universitat Ramon Llull, c/Quatre Camins, 30, 08022 Barcelona, Spain
Interests: acoustic event detection; real-time signal processing; adaptive signal processing; noise monitoring; noise annoyance; impact of noise events
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering, Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources, University College London, London WC1H 0NN, UK
Interests: environmental acoustics; soundscape; community noise; noise annoyance; urban planning; environmental design; environmental assessment; landscape design
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to invite you to submit a paper to this Special Issue focused on the perceptual evaluation of urban and suburban sounds that shape the environment. Environmental sounds have been widely considered as “noise” by epidemiologists because of the potential for annoyance to citizens and its effects on well-being and quality of life. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently published its recommendations to reduce citizens' exposure to the most typical sources of community noise (e.g., road, railway and air traffic, wind turbine noise, etc.). Most policies have the goal of minimizing noise exposure; however, while the relationships between noise exposure and possible adverse health effects have been thoroughly investigated in literature, less is known about the association between environmental sounds and perceptual outcomes other than annoyance. Soundscape studies propose methodological approach to explore this, but they are typically limited in scope and rely on small datasets, so that large-scale effects are difficult to observe and extrapolate. Recent technological developments in the fields of crowd-sourced data (e.g., acoustic monitoring mobile applications) and the use of wireless acoustic sensor networks (WASN) offer new ways of gathering data that is more likely to inform a holistic assessment of the urban acoustic environments.

This Special Issue is also an invitation to researchers to contribute with their methods and results about perceptual evaluation of sounds in the framework of complex urban and suburban soundscapes. Contributions from a wide range of disciplines are welcome, including: soundscape analysis, noise mapping and control, urban design and planning, environmental impact assessment, and public health.

Dr. Rosa Ma Alsina-Pagès
Dr. Francesco Aletta
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • soundscape analysis
  • noise mapping and control
  • urban design and planning
  • environmental impact assessment
  • public health

Published Papers (5 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

19 pages, 37775 KiB  
Article
Aircraft Noise Reduction Strategies and Analysis of the Effects
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(2), 1352; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20021352 - 11 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1985
Abstract
In this study, six aircraft noise reduction strategies including the optimization of aircraft type, regulation of night flight number, optimization of flight procedure, modification of operating runway, land use planning and installation of sound insulation windows were proposed to alleviate the harmful impact [...] Read more.
In this study, six aircraft noise reduction strategies including the optimization of aircraft type, regulation of night flight number, optimization of flight procedure, modification of operating runway, land use planning and installation of sound insulation windows were proposed to alleviate the harmful impact of aircraft noise on the local area and population near Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (BIA) in China. The effects of all proposed strategies except for land use planning and sound insulation windows were simulated and analyzed using CadnaA software. The results indicate that these noise reduction strategies have their own advantages and each of them can serve as an effective noise reduction measure for different applications. For instance, the replacement of noisy aircraft with low-noise aircraft can simultaneously reduce the area and population exposed to a high noise level, while the optimization of flight procedure can only reduce the population exposed under relatively low noise levels (70 LWECPN ≤ 75 dB). Nevertheless, the modification of operating runway is more effective in reducing the population suffering under high noise levels (LWECPN > 85 dB). Among these strategies, reducing the number of night flights is found to be most effective in reducing the overall noise-exposed area and population. Additionally, with the assistance of noise mapping, proper land use planning was suggested according to national standards, and the installation of sound insulation windows with different sound reduction grades can be determined for different areas impacted by the aircraft noise of BIA. It is believed that the results of this study can be applied as a reference in selecting suitable noise reduction strategies to improve the acoustic environment of a specific airport. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Acoustics Assessments in Urban and Suburban Contexts)
Show Figures

Figure 1

21 pages, 1875 KiB  
Article
Cluster Analysis of Urban Acoustic Environments on Barcelona Sensor Network Data
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(16), 8271; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168271 - 04 Aug 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2485
Abstract
As cities grow in size and number of inhabitants, continuous monitoring of the environmental impact of sound sources becomes essential for the assessment of the urban acoustic environments. This requires the use of management systems that should be fed with large amounts of [...] Read more.
As cities grow in size and number of inhabitants, continuous monitoring of the environmental impact of sound sources becomes essential for the assessment of the urban acoustic environments. This requires the use of management systems that should be fed with large amounts of data captured by acoustic sensors, mostly remote nodes that belong to a wireless acoustic sensor network. These systems help city managers to conduct data-driven analysis and propose action plans in different areas of the city, for instance, to reduce citizens’ exposure to noise. In this paper, unsupervised learning techniques are applied to discover different behavior patterns, both time and space, of sound pressure levels captured by acoustic sensors and to cluster them allowing the identification of various urban acoustic environments. In this approach, the categorization of urban acoustic environments is based on a clustering algorithm using yearly acoustic indexes, such as Lday, Levening, Lnight and standard deviation of Lden. Data collected over three years by a network of acoustic sensors deployed in the city of Barcelona, Spain, are used to train several clustering methods. Comparison between methods concludes that the k-means algorithm has the best performance for these data. After an analysis of several solutions, an optimal clustering of four groups of nodes is chosen. Geographical analysis of the clusters shows insights about the relation between nodes and areas of the city, detecting clusters that are close to urban roads, residential areas and leisure areas mostly. Moreover, temporal analysis of the clusters gives information about their stability. Using one-year size of the sliding window, changes in the membership of nodes in the clusters regarding tendency of the acoustic environments are discovered. In contrast, using one-month windowing, changes due to seasonality and special events, such as COVID-19 lockdown, are recognized. Finally, the sensor clusters obtained by the algorithm are compared with the areas defined in the strategic noise map, previously created by the Barcelona city council. The developed k-means model identified most of the locations found on the overcoming map and also discovered a new area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Acoustics Assessments in Urban and Suburban Contexts)
Show Figures

Figure 1

41 pages, 7304 KiB  
Article
A Smartphone-Based Crowd-Sourced Database for Environmental Noise Assessment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(15), 7777; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18157777 - 22 Jul 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3270
Abstract
Noise is a major source of pollution with a strong impact on health. Noise assessment is therefore a very important issue to reduce its impact on humans. To overcome the limitations of the classical method of noise assessment (such as simulation tools or [...] Read more.
Noise is a major source of pollution with a strong impact on health. Noise assessment is therefore a very important issue to reduce its impact on humans. To overcome the limitations of the classical method of noise assessment (such as simulation tools or noise observatories), alternative approaches have been developed, among which is collaborative noise measurement via a smartphone. Following this approach, the NoiseCapture application was proposed, in an open science framework, providing free access to a considerable amount of information and offering interesting perspectives of spatial and temporal noise analysis for the scientific community. After more than 3 years of operation, the amount of collected data is considerable. Its exploitation for a sound environment analysis, however, requires one to consider the intrinsic limits of each collected information, defined, for example, by the very nature of the data, the measurement protocol, the technical performance of the smartphone, the absence of calibration, the presence of anomalies in the collected data, etc. The purpose of this article is thus to provide enough information, in terms of quality, consistency, and completeness of the data, so that everyone can exploit the database, in full control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Acoustics Assessments in Urban and Suburban Contexts)
Show Figures

Figure 1

21 pages, 4617 KiB  
Article
Quieted City Sounds during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Montreal
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(11), 5877; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18115877 - 30 May 2021
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 3418
Abstract
This paper investigates the transformation of urban sound environments during the COVID-19 pandemic in Montreal, Canada. We report on comparisons of sound environments in three sites, before, during, and after the lockdown. The project is conducted in collaboration with the Montreal festival district [...] Read more.
This paper investigates the transformation of urban sound environments during the COVID-19 pandemic in Montreal, Canada. We report on comparisons of sound environments in three sites, before, during, and after the lockdown. The project is conducted in collaboration with the Montreal festival district (Quartier des Spectacles) as part of the Sounds in the City partnership. The analyses rely on continuous acoustic monitoring of three sites. The comparisons are presented in terms of (1) energetic acoustic indicators over different periods of time (Lden, Ld, Le, Ln), (2) statistical acoustic indicators (L10, L90), and (3) hourly, daily, and weekly profiles of sound levels throughout the day. Preliminary analyses reveal sound level reductions on the order of 6–7 dB(A) during lockdown, with differences more or less marked across sites and times of the day. After lockdown, sound levels gradually increased following an incremental relaxation of confinement. Within four weeks, sound levels measurements nearly reached the pre-COVID-19 levels despite a reduced number of pedestrian activities. Long-term measurements suggest a ‘new normal’ that is not quite as loud without festival activities, but that is also not characterizable as quiet. The study supports reframing debates about noise control and noise management of festival areas to also consider the sounds of such areas when festival sounds are not present. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Acoustics Assessments in Urban and Suburban Contexts)
Show Figures

Figure 1

19 pages, 3490 KiB  
Article
Revisiting the Concept of Quietness in the Urban Environment—Towards Ecosystems’ Health and Human Well-Being
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(6), 3151; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18063151 - 18 Mar 2021
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 4123
Abstract
There is plenty of proof that environmental noise is a major pollutant in the urban environment. Several approaches were successfully applied for its calculation, visualization, prediction and mitigation. The goal of all strategy plans regards its reduction and the creation of quietness. This [...] Read more.
There is plenty of proof that environmental noise is a major pollutant in the urban environment. Several approaches were successfully applied for its calculation, visualization, prediction and mitigation. The goal of all strategy plans regards its reduction and the creation of quietness. This study aims to revisit the concept of quietness in the urban environment and attempts to portray a new understanding of the specific phenomena. “Quietness” as a term retains an ambiguity, and so far, it can be described as the lack of something, meaning the lack of noise that is portrayed by means of intensity. Several studies describe quietness as the combination of perceptual soundscape elements and contextual factors that can be quantified, combined, weighed and used as indicators of healthy soundscapes. In this research, the focus is on setting aside all indicators, either measuring the intensity or contextual ones and use solely quantifiable metrics regarding the acoustic environment, thus introducing a new composite index called the composite urban quietness index (CUQI). After testing the CUQI, in order to verify the results of previous research regarding the identification of quiet Areas in the city of Mytilene (Lesbos Island, Greece), the study concludes that CUQI is efficiently functioning even in this early stage of development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Acoustics Assessments in Urban and Suburban Contexts)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop