Cities have always been noisy places. Thanks to large populations living in oftentimes confined
spaces – especially when compared to rural or even suburban areas – greater volumes of sound are inevitable within the city landscape. Add to that the noise generated from transportation systems, construction undertakings, electronic devices, and the various other sounds that make up a general cityscape, and it’s clear to see why noise pollution is fast becoming one of humanity’s greatest concerns.
From human psychological wellbeing to buildings’ structural integrity, the vibrations made during
the creation of sound can have a significant impact on society. While some vibrations can be vastly beneficial – just think of how music can improve a person’s mood – not all vibrations are made equal. Indeed, unregulated sound vibrations can negatively impact sensitive ecosystems and can even lead to the poor physical health of humans, animals, and plants alike. Considering, amongst others, the confirmed advantages of including green spaces within cities, it is vital that city noise does not counteract the purpose and benefits of incorporating nature into the built environment.
As city living becomes an ever-increasing reality across the world, the need for effective sound
management and noise reduction has become an absolute necessity. The role of acoustic specialists
in both future city design as well as retrofitting current city structures to mitigate sound pollution
cannot, therefore, be overstated. It is in line with this understanding that along with moves to
establish more Smart Cities have come increased opportunities for acoustics consultants to shape modern cities’ soundscapes.
In order for future cities to flourish, it is imperative that acoustics engineers form part of the core
teams responsible for city planning and design. This is especially true for cities in countries like New Zealand, where space is limited, as effective sound management is integral for optimal city