Project Overview

Noise regulations in Montreal date back to their first adoption in 1976. Since then, an extensive body of academic literature has provided theoretical grounds for a new approach to urban noise called “soundscape” that offers great potential for shaping the future of urban noise management.

Berri St., as seen from Sherbrooke St.
Berri St., as seen from Sherbrooke St. (Montreal)
© 2016 T. B. Tran Phan

The soundscape approach captures the idea that ‘appropriate’ sounds can be used to positive effect; it is a deviation from the traditional urban noise mitigation approach that aims to make the city less negative but not necessarily more positive. Traditionally, the field of soundscape research has focused on the perspective of ‘city users’, but we are extending that relationship to include and understand the role that ‘city makers’ play on the perception of urban sounds by city users.

To advance these ideas, the Sounds in the City team has been assembled and comprises partners from McGill University, the City of Montreal, and the professional realm. The proposed research aims to position Montreal as a leader in urban noise management and soundscape by connecting research and practice. With experts in soundscape, urban planning, and noise regulation, and based on our collaborative track record, our research team is uniquely positioned to address this established research-practice gap, and be among the firsts to do so.

View of Downtown Montréal
View of Downtown Montreal
© 2016 T. B. Tran Phan

From a practical standpoint, our project will aim to influence 3 main areas, via: alterations to the city noise regulation, implications for noise inspections, and soundscape training programs for urban planners and other decision makers. Through outreach activities with the general public, we will give Montreal residents a better understanding of their city’s process, empowering them to shape their environment. We are eager to learn from other organizations and invite you to contribute or contact our team with your comments.