How to measure soundscape quality

Invited paper

ึsten Axelsson

Department of Psychology

Tuesday 2 june, 2015, 14:40 - 15:00

0.6 Madrid (49)

The Swedish Soundscape-Quality Protocol has been criticised for being insufficient, because it proposes to measure soundscape quality by a Good-Bad scale. Frequently it is found that good soundscapes are natural. This would mean that that soundscape in city centres, which are not natural, is of low quality by default. Therefore, critics argue that alternative definitions and measurements of 'soundscape quality' must be explored. Two alternatives are to measure 'soundscape quality' by asking to what extent a soundscape is appropriate for a place, or to assess the perceived affective quality of soundscape with a set of attribute scales. In the Sound Cities project at School of Architecture, University of Sheffield, in the UK, a series of laboratory experiments and in situ surveys are underway to determine which of these alternatives are most valid. Preliminary results provide support for a combination of a Good-Bad scale and how appropriate a soundscape is for a place. Typically, these two measurements are correlated, meaning that most often a good soundscape is appropriate for a place, and vice versa. However, a soundscape can be bad, but still appropriate, for example, if the place is a downtown car park.

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