Publications

Sounds in the City

Researching soundscape conceptualizations, contexts, and information in urban planning and design practices through interviews

Daniel Steele, Catherine Guastavino
Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP) Annual Congress, Lisbon, Portugal, July 11-17 2017

Sounds in the City Workshops: integrating the soundscape approach in urban design and planning practices

Daniel Steele, Romain Dumoulin, Christine Kerrigan, Catherine Guastavino
Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP) Annual Congress, Lisbon, Portugal, July 11-17 2017

How does activity affect soundscape assessments? Insights from an urban soundscape intervention with music

Daniel Steele, Cynthia Tarlao, Edda Bild, Julian Rice, Catherine Guastavino
173th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) & 8th Forum Acusticum, Boston, USA, June 25-29 2017

A review of transport noise management plans in large North American and European cities

Julian Rice, Daniel Steele, Romain Dumoulin, Catherine Guastavino
173th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) & 8th Forum Acusticum, Boston,  USA, June 25-29 2017

Musikiosk

Evaluation of an urban soundscape intervention with music: quantitative results from questionnaires

Daniel Steele, Cynthia Tarlao, Edda Bild, Catherine Guastavino
InterNoise, 45th International Congress, Hamburg, Germany, August 21-24 2016

“In the summer of 2015, we installed Musikiosk (an interactive sound system) in a busy public park allowing users to play their own content over high-quality speakers. Using mixed-methods, soundscape measurements were collected with questionnaires, recordings, interviews, logs, and observations. This analysis concentrates on quantitative findings from the questionnaires, which probed soundscape quality (SSQP), mood, and noise sensitivity (NSS)…. Findings indicate that Musikiosk, while generally adding decibels, contributes to a more pleasant soundscape and mood improvements without detrimental effects on the perceived calmness.”

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Sharing music in public spaces: social insights from the Musikiosk project

Edda Bild, Daniel Steele, Cynthia Tarlao, Catherine Guastavino, Matt Coler
InterNoise, 45th International Congress, Hamburg, Germany, August 21-24 2016

“We developed and installed an open, free sound system (Musikiosk) allowing users to choose and play their own music into a pocket park off a busy commercial street. The park and system usage were systematically studied in an interdisciplinary research project” which combined “observations, questionnaires and interviews with park users and residents…. Results indicate that both users and non-users of the system evaluate Musikiosk as a welcome addition to the park and as a benefit to its conviviality and dynamics…. Findings further indicate that the process of shared music consumption is an essential advantage of the system, extending the range of park functions and encouraging interaction and different forms of social dynamics by also attracting new users.”

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Musikiosk: a soundscape intervention and evaluation in an urban park

Daniel Steele, Romain Dumoulin, Louis Voreux, Nicolas Gautier, Mathias Glaus, Catherine Guastavino, Jérémie Voix
Audio Engineering Society (AES) 59th International Conference, Montreal, Canada, July 15-17 2015

Daniel Steele’s tutorial at the AES Conference:
audio file (MP3) and slides (PDF)

“Musikiosk is an interactive music installation and environmental monitoring station developed for urban parks…. We describe the development of the technology and propose a comprehensive mixed-methods research program to evaluate its impact on the community. Environmental monitoring via an ambient microphone input provides information about system usage, physical measurements of the acoustic environment, and playback levels. A survey with park users, non-users, and residents will be conducted before and after the installation to empirically evaluate the urban sound intervention…. Findings will contribute toward theories on the roles of activity and music in soundscape evaluations and will be among the firsts to observe changes in a manipulated soundscape.”

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Urban Soundscape Research

Soundscape and Urban Planners

Encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration and sound awareness among city makers. A workshop report

Edda Bild, Daniel Steele, Karin Pfeffer
Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP) Annual Congress, Lisbon, Portugal, July 11-17 2017

Constructing ideal soundscapes: a practical study on closing the gaps between soundscape studies and urban design

Daniel Steele, Nik Luka, Catherine Guastavino
Acoustics, 11th French Congress, Nantes, France, April 23-27 2012

“Calls are increasingly made for an urban land-use policy that takes non-vision sensory modalities into account, like hearing, but agents capable of making such changes often lack the expertise to do so. The best progress in acoustics so far has been through intentional soundscape design…. The paper establishes that soundscape researchers should be working with urban designers rather than urban planners to affect soundscape change on a multitude of urban scales, because of the nature of the task of the urban designer. A mode of interdisciplinary communication is established through three case studies that show the extent to which soundscape designers should be involved in the urban design process.”

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How do urban planners conceptualize and contextualize soundscape in their everyday work?

Daniel Steele, Catherine Guastavino
InterNoise, 42nd International Congress, Innsbruck, Austria, September 15-18 2013

“Previous studies have established that soundscape concerns constitute a low but significant priority for urban designers and planners, and that the way they conceive of acoustical concepts is different from soundscape researchers. The gap in discourse between planners and researchers has prevented the achievement of the best possible outcomes for soundscape. In May 2013, 3 public-sector urban planners were interviewed to investigate how planners consider soundscape in their decisions and evaluate the success of an intervention…. Our findings will inform the production of educational materials for urban planners to help them identify and achieve better soundscape outcomes in their native discourse.”

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Music and Visual Perception

Music influences the perception of our acoustic and visual environment

Jochen Steffens, Daniel Steele, Catherine Guastavino
InterNoise, 45th International Congress, Hamburg, Germany, August 21-24 2016

“While many sounds in our environment may cause annoyance to people, music is well-known to positively affect our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Within a longitudinal study, we explored how music influences the perception of our acoustic and visual environment…. Results reveal that during musical episodes, participants perceive their acoustic and visual environment as more pleasant, pay more attention to the soundscape, and report better mood states compared to non-musical episodes.” This study “provides insight on how people actively ‘design’ their environment with music, and how the motives for doing so depend on person-related and situational factors.”

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Soundscape and Activity

The role of activity in urban soundscape evaluation

Daniel Steele, Jochen Steffens, Catherine Guastavino
EuroNoise, 10th European Congress, Maastricht, Netherlands, May 31-June 3 2015

“Three studies conducted by the authors each focused on urban activities in various ways. The first is a series of interviews with urban planners, addressing the gaps between planners and soundscape researchers…. The second study varied (envisioned) activity while collecting evaluations of soundscape appropriateness…. The third study was carried out using the so-called experience sampling method (ESM) where momentary (i.e. in-the-moment), in-situ soundscape evaluations were collected at various points of the day along with data on activity-at-hand, mood, and cognitive effort…. Besides contributing generally toward a theory of soundscape evaluation, our findings on the role of activity point toward further justification of the importance of soundscape over physical measurements in urban planning and design and provide a common link to achieve cross-disciplinary synthesis.”

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Investigating soundscape affordances through activity appropriateness

Frederik L. Nielbo, Daniel Steele, Catherine Guastavino
21st International Congress on Acoustics (ICA), Montreal, Canada, June 2-7 2013
doi: 10.1121/1.4800502

“Central to the concept of soundscape is the understanding of the acoustic environment in context. Previous research indicates that people understand soundscapes through their potential for activities. One way to look at activities is through the concept of affordances – defined as the actionable properties of an object…. Fifteen participants listened to stereo recordings of 8 outdoors sites in Paris and Montreal. In each trial, they evaluated on a continuous scale how appropriate the soundscapes were for a given activity. Four activities were considered and presented in random order…. Certain soundscapes were found to accommodate specific activities only while others were found to potentially accommodate all activities or none.”

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Soundscape and Language

The ideal urban soundscape: investigating the sound quality of French cities

Catherine Guastavino
Acta Acustica united with Acustica, vol. 92, no. 6, 2006, pp. 945-951

© 2006 S. Hirzel Verlag/European Acoustics Association
The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at www.ingentaconnect.com/contentone/dav/aaua/
Please contact the publisher for reprint or permission to use the material in any form

“A questionnaire study was conducted to investigate the sound quality of urban environments. Seventy-seven participants living in large French cities were questioned about their appraisal of familiar urban soundscapes in a free-response format questionnaire. A psycholinguistic analysis of spontaneous verbal descriptions was conducted to identify semantic categories of environmental sounds and relevant sound quality criteria for urban soundscapes. Our results confirm the influence of semantic features, besides physical ones, on auditory judgments, and further reveal the salience of human sounds.”

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A cognitive approach to urban soundscapes: using verbal data to access everyday life auditory categories

Danièle Dubois, Catherine Guastavino, Manon Raimbault
Acta Acustica united with Acustica, vol. 92, no.6, 2006, pp. 865-874

© 2006 S. Hirzel Verlag/European Acoustics Association
The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at www.ingentaconnect.com/contentone/dav/aaua/
Please contact the publisher for reprint or permission to use the material in any form

“The present research on cognitive categories mediates between individual experiences of soundscapes and collective representations shared in language…. First, results of several free categorisation experiments are presented, namely the categorical structures elicited using soundscape recordings and the underlying principles of organisation derived from the analysis of verbal comments…. Second, the linguistic exploration of free-format verbal description of soundscapes indicated that the meanings attributed to sounds act as a determinant for sound quality evaluations…. Finally, methodological and theoretical consequences of these findings are drawn, highlighting the need to address not only noise annoyance but rather sound quality of urban environments.”

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Categorization of environmental sounds

Catherine Guastavino
Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, vol. 61, no.1, 2007, pp. 54-63
doi: 10.1037/cjep2007006

© 2007 American Psychological Association/Canadian Psychological Association
This article may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.

“This paper investigates the way in which people categorize environmental sounds in their everyday lives…. A free categorization task with open-ended verbal descriptions was used to investigate auditory categories for environmental sounds in complex real-world sonic environments. Two main categories emerged from the free-sort, reflecting the absence or presence of human activity in relation to hedonic judgments. At a subordinate level, subcategories were mediated by the participant’s reported interactions with the environment through socialized activities…. The relevance of situational factors in categorization and the notion of auditory category in its relation to linguistic labeling are then discussed.”

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A psycholinguistic approach to low frequency perception: language conceptualizations, cognitive representations and ecological validity (in French only)

Catherine Guastavino, Pascale Cheminée
Psychologie Française, vol. 48, no. 4, 2003, pp. 91-101

“Presented in this paper are the main results that can be drawn from the psycholinguistic exploration of low frequency perception in urban soundscapes. The psycholinguistic analysis presented here mediates between individual representations in language and shared cognitive representations. The comparison of the results obtained in different contexts sketches some theoretical and methodological issues, as the same acoustical phenomenon can give rise to different cognitive objects that integrate properties of mental representations into physical descriptions of the stimuli. The experimental conditions must thus take into account the specificity of cognitive representations, which can be inferred from the linguistic analysis of open questionnaires.”

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Retrospective Evaluations of Soundscapes

New insights into soundscape evaluations using the experience sampling method

Jochen Steffens, Daniel Steele, Catherine Guastavino
EuroNoise, 10th European Congress, Maastricht, Netherlands, May 31-June 3 2015

The Experience Sampling Method (ESM) “refers to a method of data collection in which people periodically make momentary (i.e. ‘in-the-moment’) judgments over the course of the day while naturally acting within their everyday environment…. We conducted a 7-day ESM study to investigate the relationship between momentary and retrospective soundscape judgments…. Results show that daily retrospective judgments of soundscape pleasantness can be predicted by the average and the linear trend of the momentary judgments, the negative peak, and the person’s mood while performing the judgment. Weekly retrospective judgments, however, are governed by the positive peak and the person’s mood.”

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Measuring momentary and retrospective soundscape evaluations in everyday life by means of the experience sampling method

Jochen Steffens, Daniel Steele, Catherine Guastavino
The Brunswik Society Newsletter, vol. 30, November 2015, pp. 45-48

This paper is an adapted version of the conference paper “New insights into soundscape evaluations using the experience sampling method,” presented at Euronoise 2015, in Maastricht, Netherlands.

“Any expressed evaluation of an acoustic environment necessarily makes use of retrospection…. The influence of cognitive processes, especially memory representations of a temporal experience, may lead to a weighting of certain episodes in the course of an overall retrospective evaluation…. The results of our study confirm our assumption that retrospective judgments of soundscape pleasantness are not only governed by ‘cognitive averaging’ processes but also by specifically unpleasant peak moments. Moreover, the results provide further empirical evidence that judgment processes in auditory perception are influenced by a person’s mood and anticipation [of] how the soundscape experience might go on.”

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Trend effects in momentary and retrospective soundscape judgments

Jochen Steffens, Catherine Guastavino
Acta Acustica united with Acustica, vol. 101, no. 4, 2015, pp. 713-722

© 2015 S. Hirzel Verlag/European Acoustics Association
The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at dx.doi.org/10.3813/AAA.918867
Please contact the publisher for reprint or permission to use the material in any form

“When an experience is evaluated retrospectively, its various elements have to be temporally integrated into an overall evaluation…. 49 listeners took part at this experiment comparing momentary and retrospective pleasantness judgments of soundscapes. The task of the experimental group was to indicate momentary judgments by continuously adjusting a slider on a computer interface over the course of the stimulus presentation. Additionally, the participants had to make an overall retrospective judgment of the soundscapes after listening to them…. This investigation shows that beyond pure ‘cognitive averaging’ the temporal development of the experience, especially in terms of its linear trend, is taken into account by the listener when evaluating soundscape as a whole.”

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Soundscape Methodology

Comparing soundscape evaluations in French and English across three studies in Montreal

Cynthia Tarlao, Daniel Steele, Pauline Fernandez, Catherine Guastavino
InterNoise, 45th International Congress, Hamburg, Germany, August 21-24 2016

“Soundscape evaluations rely heavily on verbal descriptors often using Likert-type scales such as the Swedish Soundscape Quality Protocol (SSQP). While these scales have been validated in Swedish and English, the French-speaking soundscape community has struggled to find suitable French equivalents. Questionnaires were gathered in French and English in 3 urban locations using the SSQP, noise sensitivity (NSS) and restorativeness scales in addition to open-ended questions…. This across-study analysis, aided by Montreal’s unique status as a bilingual city, supports future uses of French-language materials for soundscape evaluations.”

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A comparison of soundscape evaluation methods in a large urban park in Montreal

Daniel Steele, Edda Bild, Cynthia Tarlao, Irene Luque Martín, Jorge Izquierdo Cubero, Catherine Guastavino
22nd International Congress on Acoustics (ICA), Buenos Aires, Argentina, September 5-9 2016

“We compare 3 methods (behavioral mapping, questionnaires, sound recordings) to research the interaction between park users and their soundscapes…. We collected soundscape ratings and free-format verbal descriptions, together with demographics, activity data, and personality measures. Annotated sound recordings for each observation session were compared against source and activity descriptions and free format verbal descriptors were classified into emerging themes…. Wide variations in sound source identification across activity zones and across participants and researchers reveal an influence of the data collection method. Importantly, this project serves as a baseline against which we can compare soundscape studies taking place in other contexts and will inform future methodological efforts.”

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Ecological validity of soundscape reproduction

Catherine Guastavino, Brian F. G. Katz, Jean-Dominique Polack, Daniel J. Levitin, Danièle Dubois
Acta Acustica united with Acustica, vol. 91, no. 2, 2005, pp. 333-341

© 2005 S. Hirzel Verlag/European Acoustics Association
The archived file is not the final published version of the article.
The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at www.ingentaconnect.com/contentone/dav/aaua/
Please contact the publisher for reprint or permission to use the material in any form

“We introduce a methodology based on linguistic exploration of verbal data to investigate the influence of reproduction method on cognitive processing of environmental sounds in laboratory conditions. Three experiments were carried out to explore the ecological validity of reproduction systems. The reference study consisted of interviews conducted in actual environments, which were also recorded simultaneously. The recordings were used for two listening tests, the first one using stereophonic reproduction and the second one using multichannel reproduction. The comparison of the verbal data collected in the different contexts sketches some theoretical and methodological issues concerning the reproduction of everyday life scenes in laboratory conditions.”

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