A very common type of project for us is a noise impact assessment for a future residential development. While we have made significant contributions to national guidance for carrying out the assessment, can a Soundscape approach reveal new design responses to improve the development? A soundwalk is one of the primary data collection tools for a soundscape approach. We’ve carried out real soundwalks on this site, and we will be comparing the data from the real and virtual soundwalks. Improving the ecological validity of the virtual soundwalk is key – the virtual soundwalk is so much more accessible than the real site.
Re-creating a virtual environment comes with many challenges, mostly questions of accuracy and realism, but also with new exciting opportunities. With the help of mixing and mastering techniques, we simulate how a particular location could sound indoors, with windows partially and fully closed.
The virtual soundwalk site
The site is located in a mixed use area of Newcastle upon Tyne, in the North East of England. You can see the river Tyne to the south of the site, where industrial sites remain. At one time these were bustling shipyards, arming many countries’ battle ships. The area above the banks has been residential for many years – originally housing the shipyard workers. The site is elevated above Scotswood Road a dual-carriage way which runs between the site and the river. Around the site there is old and new housing, and many trees have grown on former wasteland. In the virtual soundwalk we present two locations from this site. The first has an aspect onto the adjacent road with intermittent traffic. The second overlooks Scotswood Road, with constantly flowing traffic.
Instructions for the virtual soundwalk
The experience is better with headphones in a quiet location where you will not be disturbed. This video provides an orientation to the site. Below is the link to the questionnaire.
Now you are ready to begin!
Access the questionnaire with the embedded videos here.
Thank you very much for taking the time to complete the questionnaire. Please do remember to click “submit” at the end, so we receive your answers. We will use the data to help answer the most important question – how can a soundscape approach improve outcomes for this type of noise impact assessment?
Find out more about our Soundscape approach