The science of soundscape - summary of the evidence base from the UK acoustics community

Rogers, P.; Aletta, F.; Attenborough, K.; Bentley, C.; Harvie-Clark, J.; Kang, J.; Lavia, L.; Torija Martinez, A.J.; Payne, S.R. and Waters, G. (2023). The science of soundscape - summary of the evidence base from the UK acoustics community. In: Proceedings of the Institute of Acoustics, 45(3).



The Science of Soundscape – Summary of the Evidence Base from the UK Acoustics Community provides a comprehensive summary of the scientific evidence supporting the use of a soundscape approach in environmental design and planning. The lead author was Peter Rogers; we contributed to the text with a case study, Soundscape approach for a residential development. The paper was written in response to a request from the UK House of Lords for information on the evidence base around soundscapes and their benefits for wellbeing. It provides background on the concept of soundscapes as distinct from just noise levels. Soundscapes consider the perception of sound in context. The paper summarizes evidence from many studies showing health and wellbeing benefits of natural sounds and positive soundscapes. Case studies demonstrate practical applications of soundscape principles in urban design projects. The paper calls for greater inclusion of soundscapes in policy frameworks, citing initial steps taken in Wales. It brings together views of many UK acoustics experts to give a broad scientific summary of the current state of knowledge on soundscapes. The paper makes the case for the science supporting soundscapes as a complement to traditional noise management, with benefits for human health and sustainability. It provides evidence requested by policymakers considering this approach.

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