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Investigating urban soundscapes of the COVID-19 lockdown: A predictive soundscape modeling approach

Mitchell, A; Oberman, T; Aletta, F; Kachlicka, M; Lionello, M; Erfanian, M; Kang, J; (2021) Investigating urban soundscapes of the COVID-19 lockdown: A predictive soundscape modeling approach. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America , 150 (6) , Article 4474. 10.1121/10.0008928. Green open access

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Abstract

The unprecedented lockdowns resulting from COVID-19 in spring 2020 triggered changes in human activities in public spaces. A predictive modeling approach was developed to characterize the changes in the perception of the sound environment when people could not be surveyed. Building on a database of soundscape questionnaires (N = 1,136) and binaural recordings (N = 687) collected in 13 locations across London and Venice during 2019, new recordings (N = 571) were made in the same locations during the 2020 lockdowns. Using these 30-s-long recordings, linear multilevel models were developed to predict the soundscape pleasantness ( R2=0.85) and eventfulness ( R2=0.715) during the lockdown and compare the changes for each location. The performance was above average for comparable models. An online listening study also investigated the change in the sound sources within the spaces. Results indicate (1) human sounds were less dominant and natural sounds more dominant across all locations; (2) contextual information is important for predicting pleasantness but not for eventfulness; (3) perception shifted toward less eventful soundscapes and to more pleasant soundscapes for previously traffic-dominated locations but not for human- and natural-dominated locations. This study demonstrates the usefulness of predictive modeling and the importance of considering contextual information when discussing the impact of sound level reductions on the soundscape.

Type: Article
Title: Investigating urban soundscapes of the COVID-19 lockdown: A predictive soundscape modeling approach
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1121/10.0008928
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1121/10.0008928
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10141114
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