Healthy urban living: integration of noise in other local policy domains

Invited paper

Miriam Weber

DCMR Environmental Protection Agency

Monday 1 june, 2015, 15:00 - 15:20

0.8 Rome (118)

Increasing numbers of people are living in, densely built, cities, and this trend will continue. Municipalities consequently are facing serious challenges such as accommodating spatial claims from housing, mobility and economy and in the meantime improve environmental quality and public health. Healthy urban living is gaining interest from academic as well as public administrations, integrating several of the aforementioned local policy issues. The city of Rotterdam, for example, currently implements policy on ‘greening the city’. Nature and green elements in the city, such as green roofs and green facades) catch rain water, isolate houses against energy loss and prevent water flooding and heat stress. In addition, research has shown the positive effects of green on stress reduction and masking of non-wanted noise sources. The Rotterdam ambition for 2014 is to increase the amount of blue (water) and green parts of the city, with a specific focus on the social-weaker southern parts of the city. In longer timeframe green has to be a standard topic in the policy instruments employed in noise, health, climate, water and air quality domains. Currently research is conducted by various municipal (health and environment) departments to develop tools and instruments in order to integrate noise in this healthy urban living policy domain. Ideas are, for example, to define a geographical norm for green and relatively quiet areas, to develop a cost-benefit analysis for relatively quiet areas, and to – hands on – redevelop three residential areas in Rotterdam Zuid with a focus on public participation (specifically by unemployed and social weaker groups), green features and health. In the latter, noise will be a minor topic. The main aim though is to get a better insight in the common language, approaches and tools used by social workers, public health and other municipal departments, and integrate noise and soundscape knowledge into their daily working practice.

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