The Soniferous Experience of Public Space: A Soundscape Approach

Williams ( Kenya DuBois Williams )
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Portland State University, United States 
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This research explores the awareness and perceptions of practitioners regarding the role of the soundscape in understanding and managing public spaces. Without considering the role of the soundscape as part of public spaces, urban planners, designers, and policy officials cannot accurately engage in placemaking that provides a complete sensory experience. The antiquated practice of enforcing noise codes has been the traditional approach to mitigate noise (unwanted sounds). However, sound is an overlooked element in the sensory experience of cities and how individuals and communities construct a "sense of place." This study considers the implications of the soundscape approach and soundwalks in understanding the role of the soundscape in urban places as part of the management, planning, and urban design processes. This research will add to how awareness of the soundscape can help to create livable, meaningful cities.

For this qualitative study, the soundscape of Tom McCall Waterfront Park was explored by thirty-one practitioners who participated in soundwalks and responded to surveys. The thematic analysis showed five themes, which describe the practitioners' perceptions and how they increase their awareness about the role the soundscape plays in enhancing the soniferous experience of parks and urban spaces. Insights and theoretical and practical implications have been derived from the findings to diminishing the gap in knowledge about soundscapes for urban planning theory and practice. 
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