There are good reasons to assume that the European cities in some years will sound fundamentally different from they do today. The progress of the European cities doesn’t only affect the built structure of the urban environment, rather a whole series of features are exposed to change, such as ways of life, socio-economic structures, demographic patterns, spatial logics, symbolic values, atmospheres, smells, and sounds. What are the audible consequences for the European cities? How does the change in urban sound affect urban quality? And in particular, what does this change necessitate for urban planning in order to keep or even to improve a city’s listening quality?
This applied-oriented masterthesis aims to explore the opportunities for planning and designing urban sound. In particular, the benefits of taking into consideration «urban sound in the planning and designing process» are studied. The thesis has been carried out with the help of expert interviews with sound experts, including consultants, planners, and sound artists, as well as representatives of noise control authorities and municipalities in Zürich, Oslo, Berlin, Bern, London, and Hamburg. Field recordings have been performed in order to find listening examples and to underline the statements made in the interviews.
Starting in Zurich West, the following field recordings takes us to Oslo, London, and back again to Zurich. We get a notion about mobility noises and ventilation noises of European cities and how these noises mingle with the urban acoustic surroundings. However, the field recordings also indicate how the European cities in near future will sound like – and which problems architects, engineers, and city planners could already handle today.