Munich, 15 of September 2016 … the day has arrived!
The Urban Sound Planning – International Symposium was preceded by the autumn meeting of the EUROCITIES’ Working Group Noise (WGN) and the participants of the Symposium were able to join a tour around Pasing (near Munich) where a major traffic calming project resulted in the improvement of public spaces. This event was a nice introduction for the Urban Sound Planning topic of the SONORUS symposium.
First day of the Symposium (15/09/2016)
The International Symposium took place at the auditorium of MüllerBBM, in Planegg- Munich with the participation of more than 80 people from Urban Planning Offices, Research Institutes and of course the presence of the Early Stage Researchers (ESRs). It started in the early afternoon with a few welcome words by Professor Wolfgang Kropp (Chalmers University), one of the SONORUS coordinators and Carl-Christian Hantschk, one of MBBM CEO’s.
Miriam Weber did a great introduction of the SONORUS project by giving a lecture on “Sound planning as an integral and indispensable part of urban planning and design”. Miriam is currently working at the city of Utrecht in the Health Department and outlined very well the approach to sound planning, based on standards and limits in legislation. Moreover, she emphasised the issue, that sometimes national and local legislation are contradictory, resulting in a generalised feeling of inability to put pressure and intervene at both levels. She also pointed out that It is necessary to shift from policies that are focused on protecting the public to policies that promote the environmental sustainability in a broader sense. Finally, one of the key phrases during her talk was that we have to make everyone listen and care about noise.
Wolfgang Kropp then introduced the SONORUS project and explained the reasons behind the idea of proposing a project on Urban Sound Planning and the need for further improvements on this field.
After a nice coffee break the session continued with a summary assessment of the research results from the 14 ESRs work. Jens Forssén and Maarten Hornikx from Chalmers University and TUe respectively, summarised the research outcomes of SONORUS project under the topic of prediction and auralization for urban sound planning.
Professor Dick Botteldooren from Ghent University then presented the SONORUS outcomes concerning noise control and design for Urban Sound Planning.
The soundscape approach for Urban Sound Planning was presented by Professor Jian Kang from the Sheffield University.
These presentations were a great introduction to the poster and tools demonstration that took place during the second day of the Symposium.
The summary of the first day and an introduction to the discussions was coordinated by Joachim Scheuren.
The discussion was a very fruitful moment with a lot of interventions and questions by the public. Some of the main ideas presented during the discussion were:
- Multisensory people need multisensory solutions;
- Urban planners are either ignored in the sound design process or they deal with this issue purely dogmatically emphasizing only on the legislation limits;
- Synergy with other disciplines is needed: urban sound planners should contact and cooperate with architects, urban planners and transport planners in the application of urban sound planning;
- The combination of auralization and visualisation tools are fundamental to EDUCATE citizens;
- The Soundscape design is a participatory process, where people must be involved;
- The reason for improving the urban environment is health & quality of life and not purely legislation limits;
- Each city must have its own identity, thus certain soundscapes should be preserved;Additional measures – such as the obligatory environmental badge for cars – were also mentioned with the city of Munich to be stated as a successful example towards this direction;
Second day of the Symposium (16/09/2016)
The second day started with a lecture from Joachim Scheuren (MBBM) on the Implementation of the Urban Sound Planning in practice. This lecture presented an overview on the holistic approach concept for urban sound planning that was developed under the scope of SONORUS project using four test sites (Antwerp, Brighton, Gothenburg and Rome) as examples on how this concept can be achieved in practice. A review on the problems, the synergies among the ESRs and the final achievements in the application of this concept in practice concluded this interesting presentation.
Afterwards, Professor Luigi Maffei from the Second University of Naples, made a quick introduction to the poster and demonstrating tools presented by the SONORUS ESRs.
It was a great opportunity to present to the audience all the work that was accomplished within SONORUS and the feedback was really positive and encouraging for future activities.
The second and final day of the Symposium ended with another very fruitful discussion on the topics that were presented. Some of the ideas discussed were:
- The question on how to implement the holistic approach in practice. The main suggestions from the audience were: a) the necessity to develop a planning culture in the cities; b) the negotiation among the several stakeholders; c) the inclusion of sound requirements apart from the noise regulations in the competitions promoted by the municipalities;
- The topic of collaboration among the planning disciplines was mentioned and pointed out. Urban sound planners should work together with architects and urban planners towards the achievement of a better urban environment. Urban sound planners should convince their stakeholders that the final outcomes will be better when working in an environment of synergy;
- A selection of successful interventions on the sonic environment should be collected and presented to the decision-makers, often politicians;
- The topic of urban sound planning should be included in health related magazines;
- Increased pressure to highlight the topic by showing the negative effects of noise in health;
- The profile of the urban sound planner was admitted to be strong enough to be appointable in planning departments in a many cities!
The general impression from all the participants was that this was a very successful Symposium and further progress should be made so as to keep the topic of Urban Sound Planning alive and further evolve the presented tools.