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While in EU alone 80 million citizens are suffering from excessive environmental noise, the conventional approach, i.e. reduction of ‘sound level’, although much work has been carried out, does not always deliver the required improvements in quality of life. The growing field of soundscape is addressing this gap by considering sound environment as perceived, in context, with an interdisciplinary approach. However, soundscapes are hugely complex and measuring them as a basis for environmental design requires a step change to the discipline. This talk explores the need for developing ‘soundscape indices’ (SSID), in the movement from noise control to soundscape creation, adequately reflecting levels of human comfort. By analysing the soundscape design of urban open public spaces, the coherent steps for achieving this are also discussed, including characterising soundscapes by capturing soundscapes and establishing a comprehensive database; determining key factors and their influence on soundscape quality based on the database; developing, testing and validating soundscape indices; and demonstrating the applicability of the soundscape indices in the management of our sound environment.
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