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What is Auditory Environment

Handbook of Research on Perception-Driven Approaches to Urban Assessment and Design
The environment of sound as experienced by users, both individually and as a group. As users come with different internal and external contexts (e.g., their personal experience or biases, their purpose in using the space), they engage differently with their surroundings, leading to different auditory experiences and thus different, yet potentially similar auditory environments.
Published in Chapter:
Activity as a Mediator Between Users and Their Auditory Environment in an Urban Pocket Park: A Case Study of Parc du Portugal (Montreal, Canada)
Edda Bild (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands), Daniel Steele (McGill University, Canada), Karin Pfeffer (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands), Luca Bertolini (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands), and Catherine Guastavino (McGill University, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3637-6.ch005
Sound is receiving increasing attention in urban planning and design due to its effects on human health and quality of life. Soundscape researchers have sought ecologically valid measures to describe and explain the complex relationship between people and their auditory environments, largely employing laboratory studies and neglecting the active role of activity. This chapter proposes a situated cognition approach to study the relationship between context, use of space, and the ways in which users describe and evaluate sounds and their auditory environments in an urban pocket park. It draws on empirical data gathered in Parc du Portugal in Montreal, Canada using a mixed-methods research design that integrates ethnographic observations, on-site questionnaires, and behavioral mapping using a geo-spatial app to offer a situated understanding of the human auditory experience in its full complexity, with an emphasis on the mediating role of activity on the user-auditory environment relationship.
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