Appendix B
International Activities Relative to Quiet Areas

The soundscape, as defined in Wikipedia, is a sound (or combination of sounds) that forms or arises from an immersive environment (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soundscape). Some dimensions of the soundscape can be quantified, and others cannot. In Chapters 2 and 3, U.S. activities related to noise in quiet areas is described. This appendix describes two international efforts to describe preferences and tranquility in quiet areas.

COUNTRYSIDE PREFERENCES IN HONG KONG

A recent study was done in Hong Kong of human preferences in countryside soundscapes. Based on questionnaires, interviews, and recordings taken during interviews (Lam et al., 2008), there was a clear preference for countryside sound sources; natural sounds were preferable to man-made sounds. The order of preference was found to be:

  • running water

  • bird

  • wave

  • waterfall

  • wind

  • insect

  • other animals

  • human

  • road traffic

Aircraft noise is not listed, perhaps because the Hong Kong airport is on Lantau Island, not Hong Kong Island.

The sound recordings were also analyzed according to A-weighted levels and sound quality metrics, but no strong correlation between preference and acoustical quantities was found. This does not mean that acoustical quantities are unimportant; it may mean that the appropriate metric for these quantities has not been found. The authors conclude:

In summary, the study of countryside soundscapes in Hong Kong shows that the sound pressure level and other acoustical and sound quality parameters are not good indicators of soundscape preference. The presence or absence of natural and man-made sounds is a more important determinant of human preference for countryside soundscapes.

TRANQUILITY IN ENGLAND

In the United Kingdom, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has done extensive work related to tranquility (CPRE, 1995). Tranquility—partly the landscape, partly the soundscape, and partly human experience—is a difficult concept to express in numerical terms. Nevertheless, the CPRE has developed a method based on the results of questionnaires and the identification of factors that contribute to tranquility. Although the algorithm used to determine the numerical value is not given on the Internet site, an attempt was made to assign a tranquility value for every 500 X 500 meter area of England. Maps are given on the Internet site, and sounds may be downloaded.

Based on surveys, the Internet site defines the 10 top factors that contribute and do not contribute to tranquility:


What tranquility is:

  1. Seeing a natural landscape

  2. Hearing a bird sing

  3. Having peace and quiet

  4. Seeing natural-looking woodland

  5. Seeing the stars at night

  6. Seeing streams

  7. Seeing the sea

  8. Hearing natural sounds

  9. Hearing wildlife

  10. Hearing running water

What tranquility is not:

  1. Hearing constant noise from cars, lorries, and/or motorbikes

  2. Seeing lots of people



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Appendix B International Activities Relative to Quiet Areas The soundscape, as defined in Wikipedia, is a sound (or soundscape preference. The presence or absence of natural and man-made sounds is a more important determinant of combination of sounds) that forms or arises from an immer- human preference for countryside soundscapes. sive environment (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soundscape). Some dimensions of the soundscape can be quantified, and others cannot. In Chapters 2 and 3, U.S. activities related to TRANQuILITy IN ENgLAND noise in quiet areas is described. This appendix describes two In the United Kingdom, the Campaign to Protect Rural international efforts to describe preferences and tranquility England (CPRE) has done extensive work related to tran- in quiet areas. quility (CPRE, 1995). Tranquility—partly the landscape, partly the soundscape, and partly human experience—is a COuNTRySIDE PREFERENCES IN HONg KONg difficult concept to express in numerical terms. Nevertheless, the CPRE has developed a method based on the results of A recent study was done in Hong Kong of human prefer- questionnaires and the identification of factors that contribute ences in countryside soundscapes. Based on questionnaires, to tranquility. Although the algorithm used to determine the interviews, and recordings taken during interviews (Lam numerical value is not given on the Internet site, an attempt et al., 2008), there was a clear preference for countryside was made to assign a tranquility value for every 500 X 500 sound sources; natural sounds were preferable to man-made meter area of England. Maps are given on the Internet site, sounds. The order of preference was found to be: and sounds may be downloaded. Based on surveys, the Internet site defines the 10 top fac- • running water tors that contribute and do not contribute to tranquility: • bird • wave What tranquility is: • waterfall • wind 1. Seeing a natural landscape • insect 2. Hearing a bird sing • other animals 3. Having peace and quiet • human 4. Seeing natural-looking woodland • road traffic 5. Seeing the stars at night 6. Seeing streams Aircraft noise is not listed, perhaps because the Hong Kong 7. Seeing the sea airport is on Lantau Island, not Hong Kong Island. 8. Hearing natural sounds The sound recordings were also analyzed according to 9. Hearing wildlife A-weighted levels and sound quality metrics, but no strong 10. Hearing running water correlation between preference and acoustical quantities was found. This does not mean that acoustical quantities are un- What tranquility is not: important; it may mean that the appropriate metric for these quantities has not been found. The authors conclude: 1. Hearing constant noise from cars, lorries, and/or In summary, the study of countryside soundscapes in Hong motorbikes Kong shows that the sound pressure level and other acousti- 2. Seeing lots of people cal and sound quality parameters are not good indicators of 47

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48 TECHNOLOGY FOR A QUIETER AMERICA 3. Seeing urban development between man-made sounds and natural sounds in determin- 4. Seeing overhead light pollution ing their acoustical impact in rural and naturally quiet areas. 5. Hearing lots of people Amplitude and duration are also important. For example, a 6. Seeing low-flying aircraft bubbling brook and waves crashing into the seacoast may, on 7. Hearing low-flying aircraft average, be equally preferable, even though the amplitude of 8. Seeing power lines the latter is much greater than the amplitude of the former. 9. Seeing towns and cities 10. Seeing roads REFERENCES CPRE, 1995. Tranquility. Campaign to Protect Rural England. Available CONCLuSIONS online at http://www.cpre.org.uk/campaigns/landscape/tranquillity. Lam, K-C., K-C. Chau, L.M. Marafa, and L. Brown. 2008. Human Prefer- A physical description of the soundscape is one input to ence for Countryside Soundscapes. Presentation at INTER-NOISE the assessment of the human experience, even though it may 2008, The 2008 International Congress and Exposition on Noise Con - be described as an overall good experience, as a preference, trol Engineering, Shanghai, China, October 26–29. Available online at http://scitation.aip.org/journals/doc/INCEDL-home/cp/. or as a tranquil environment. One has to distinguish clearly