Netherlands, Utrecht

A Crash Course in Urban Sound Design

when 17 August 2020 - 28 August 2020
language English
duration 2 weeks
fee EUR 850

Urban Sound Design is an emerging sub-discipline within urban planning and design. Discussions about sound in our environment tend to focus on the problematic attributes, such as the noise of traffic and industry. Urban Sound Design rather considers sound as one of the design parameters within urban planning, which results in an urban soundscape that is meaningful both in a spatial, temporal and cultural sense. It is a typical multi-disciplinary subject that includes urban design, (landscape) architecture, sound design, acoustics, semantics, perception and human geography. This course forms a both theoretical and practical introduction into Urban Sound Design.

Many misconceptions arise from the unawareness of sound perception and how it influences how we experience our surroundings. Unconsciously sound can set the mood of a place and change its meaning. Additionally, the existing sound can both facilitate and supplement the required activities at a certain location or, on the opposite, make them impossible. Activities themselves generate sounds that may or may not fit the area. While we design buildings and cities in the three dimensions of space, we often forget about the notion that we move through space in the fourth dimension, that of time. Sound supports the perception and understanding of time in the environment. The visual impressions of a location are enhanced by acoustic clues and the awareness of adjacent spaces and events can only become apparent through sound. The sound of a location also plays an important role in defining social and cultural cohesion.

The course addresses all these topics. Besides lectures on the theory and principles of urban sound, the program focuses on hands on experience with evaluation of the soundscape and actual urban sound design for a new development area in the center of the city of Utrecht. Participants will work in a small team on a design assignment related to an actual design case in Utrecht. One of the involved urban designers will give a guest lecture and an explanatory tour through the area.

Course leader

Kees Went & Hans Ophuis

Target group

All students and (upcoming) professionals working within the disciplines indicated by the tags and/or with an interest in sound and urban space.

Fee info

EUR 850: Course + course materials
EUR 350: Housing fee (optional)

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