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Soundscape and behavioural effects of introduced music in the acousti environment : a field experiment

Pierluigi Ciullo

Soundscape and behavioural effects of introduced music in the acousti environment : a field experiment.

Rel. Arianna Astolfi, Jian Kang, Francesco Aletta. Politecnico di Torino, Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura Costruzione Città, 2016


The concept of soundscape was first introduced by Raymond Murray Schafer in the late sixties. The research that involved the soundscape include a variety of fields from acoustics and psychoacoustics to fields like psychology, sociology expanding to architecture and urbanism. In the field of architecture and urbanism, soundscape has gained an increasing interest in the last two decades. On the planners' side is still struggling to enter the mind-set as the regulation is yet not up to date with the latest findings. The regulations focus mainly on the noise abatement, bringing the field to a broader audience. In fact, in the last decades the studies have proven the effects that noise pollution has on the people psycho-physical wellness. Nonetheless, the sound level controls, noise mapping and noise abatement represent only a small part of the tools that can be used by the planner to fight noise pollution or a bad soundscape and get to a better environment.

A Positive example of good administration comes from the City of Brighton, UK that is actively collaborating with the University of Sheffield and the SONORUS network. The city of Brighton is considering the acoustic and soundscape as an integral part of the city and not as a secondary aspect. For example, the quality aspects of the soundscape have been investigated in the project of transformation made for the Valley Gardens in Brighton. The Valley Gardens are part of the city that presented high noise levels and those having a bad influence on the green areas present in the site. In the city of Brighton, Harry Witchel conducted an experiment that has strongly influenced the footprint of this work.

In this project I have collaborated with team members of the SONORUS network working on the path created by Harry Witchel in his study on the West Street Tunnel experiment (Witchel, et al. 2014).

The SONORUS network is a team of researchers from several different universities in Europe, including, Chalmers, Naples, Gent and Sheffield. Along with the universities there is the collaboration with various engineering consulting companies and city councils. The main test sites are: Brighton, Rome, Berlin and Antwerp. The aim of SONORUS is the planning of the acoustic environment of the cities that "supports wellbeing and health of the people living there" (SONORUS, 2013)

In this thesis is presented an empirical case that tries to demonstrate how is possible to impact the individuals' behaviour, by changing the characteristics of the soundscape. As for the West Street Tunnel experiment, where the subjects using the tunnel that connected West Street to the coast where find place all the venues of the nightlife of Brighton.

It has been decided to use three different music excerpts used in the West Street Tunnel Experiment and observe their effects on the subjects of the Concourse Bridge area within the University of Sheffield Campus. Thus observing how the subjects, unaware of being observed, responded to the three condition plus the "no music" conditions in terms of measurable variable recorded by video-camera. Then the data were collected from the recordings and inserted in a database that allowed running statistical tests on the sample.

The body of the work is divided into six chapters. The first three namely Chapter 2, Chapter 3 and Chapter 4, consist in a literature review. More precisely Chapter 2, reports some examples of the research that has been carried out in the field of soundscape structuring the literature review around the model created by Herranz-Pascual that stated that the soundscape research might be arranged around three major factors, as a matter of fact this part conducted us to place the research on the side of the activity, as it has resulted the least explored area. The Chapter 3 crosses the boundaries of the soundscape to quickly explore the field of market research that explores the effects of music on the clients' behaviour. In the Chapter 4, the West Street Tunnel experiment is exposed in more detail with the results obtained in the study. The Chapters 5,6,7 regard the Concourse Bridge Experiment that has been carried out and are respectively the sections containing the objectives, methods and results.

The final chapter include the discussion of the results obtained, according to the existing research and the future possible perspectives.

In the appendix A, is reported the full database extracted from the video recordings and in appendix-B is reported the preliminary design of the experiment with the preliminary

Relators: Arianna Astolfi, Jian Kang, Francesco Aletta
Publication type: Printed
Subjects: A Architettura > AO Design
S Scienze e Scienze Applicate > SA Acustica
Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura Costruzione Città
Classe di laurea: UNSPECIFIED
Aziende collaboratrici: UNSPECIFIED
URI: http://webthesis.biblio.polito.it/id/eprint/4634

Chapter 1. Introduction

Chapter 2. Literature review and the soundscape framework

2.1 Soundscape: context, people and activity

2.2 Soundscapeand Context

2.3 The Acoustic Environment, its perception and sound preference

2.4 Soundscape and activity

Chapter 3. Music in the environment and relations to behaviour

3.1 Music Effects on customers within the retail environment

3.2 Music Effects customers in restaurants

3.2.1 Meal duration while listening to music at the same time

3.3 Music on waiting time and work performance

3.3.1 Effects of Silence vs Music on waiting time

3.4 Music and its effects on the work performance

Chapter 4. The West Street Tunnel Experiment in Brighton

Chapter 5. The Concourse Bridge Experiment: Foreword and Objectives

5.1 Objectives

Chapter 6. Methods

6.1 Area

6.2 Acoustic Characterisation

6.2.1 Materials selection and assignment

6.2.2 Preliminary results

6.2.3 Punctual Receivers

6.2.4 Final Settings

6.3 Ethical considerations

6.4 Equipment

6.5 Music Excerpts selection

6.6 Participants

6.7 Setup

6.8 Parameters observed

6.9 Data Collection

Chapter 7. Results

7.1 Analysis of means

7.2 Analysis of Variance Between the Groups

7.3 Correlation between Audio stimuli and activity

7.4 Correlation between Audio stimuli and activity: adjusted activities test

7.4.1 Music Genre and Smoking

7.4.2 Music Genre and Chatting

7.4.3 Music Genre and eating

7.4.4 Music Genre and loitering

7.5 Stimuli-Area Correlation

7.6 Summary of Results

Chapter 8. Discussion and Conclusions

Appendix A. - Database

Appendix B. - Experiment Preliminary Design

8.1 General considerations

8.2 Variables

8.3 preliminary experiment



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