Quietness as a Commons

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Antonella Radicchi:

"Today, cities have become increasingly noisier. In Europe, over 125 million people are affected by noise pollution from traffic every year, and apparently, quietness is becoming a luxury available only for the elites. There is a growing interest in protecting and planning quiet areas, which has been recognized as a valid tool to reduce noise pollution. However, developing a common methodology to define and plan quiet areas in cities is still challenging.

The “Beyond the Noise: Open Source Soundscapes” project aims to fill this gap of knowledge by applying the soundscape approach, the citizen science paradigm and open source technology, with the ultimate goal of making quietness as a commons.

Accordingly, a new mixed methodology to identify, assess and plan small, quiet areas on the local scale is tested through the development of a pilot study in the Reuterkiez, a Berlin neighborhood affected by environmental injustice and noise pollution. In this pilot study, a number of citizens are involved in crowdsourcing data related to “everyday quiet areas” by using a novel mobile technology: the Hush City app, open interviews and group soundwalks. The contents generated in the project will be embedded in the Everyday Quiet Areas Atlas – a virtual, open, interactive and multi-layered map; and in the Design Tools Kit – a digital report on how to protect existing “everyday quiet areas” and planning new ones." (http://www.opensourcesoundscapes.org/about/)