About this Research Topic
Environmental sounds are a key component of the human experience of a place as they carry meanings and contextual information, together with providing situational awareness. They have the potential to either support or disrupt specific activities as well as to trigger, to inhibit, or simply to change human behaviors in context. The experience of acoustic environments can result in either positive or negative perceptual outcomes, which are in turn related to well-being and Quality of Life. In spite of its relevance to the holistic experience of a place, the auditory domain is not often given enough prominence in environmental psychology studies. Sounds were typically considered in their negative perspective of “noise” and treated as a by-product of contemporary society. However, the research (and practice) focus is gradually shifting towards using environmental sounds as mediators to promote and enrich communities’ everyday life. Furthermore, “music” permeates the cityscape. Designed with the intention of improving the environmental quality, music systems can augment the social acoustic experience (e.g. in commercial spaces) or, conversely, let individuals replace it (e.g. via noise-canceling earbuds) with a personalized soundscape: a virtual reality. People move back and forth between technologically mediated modes of listening. What models can describe this highly dynamic situation?
While there is a lot of potential in this area, the underlying mechanisms connecting sounds, the physical and social context where these occur, and their perceptual effects on users are still not fully understood. Furthermore, when exploring the aforementioned relationships, more challenges arise in terms of psychometrics and ecological validity of the methodologies involved. All such issues need to be addressed by researchers and practitioners of the built environment.
We aim at gathering articles dealing with the characterization and perception of single environmental sounds or complex acoustic environments, as well as their management and design implications for the urban realm. The focus could either be on theoretical aspects (e.g., relationships between sounds and psychological and physiological aspects) or methodological aspects (e.g., protocols and procedures to gather objective and subjective data).
We welcome a broad range of article types, including: Original Research, Systematic Review, Methods, Review, Mini Review, Hypothesis and Theory, Perspective, Brief Research Report, General Commentary, and Opinion. The aim is providing both a methodological and theoretical state of the art on the topic.
Keywords: sound perception, environmental acoustic, soundscape, soundplanning, auralization
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.