Soundscapes. Human Restoration, and Quality of Life
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There is increasing interest in human perception and enjoyment of the acoustic environment experienced outdoors in urban, rural, and natural or wilderness areas. In the past decade, work in the field of soundscapes has been on understanding the relationship between people and their acoustic environment, examining the sounds that people value and their reaction to them within specific contexts of place and activity. This work has also been concerned with the potential and utility for management, conservation, and design of the acoustic environment to increase human enjoyment. Research over the past 30 years or so has documented the long-term health effects of noise for particular health outcomes. Now there is increasing interest in the idea that the acoustic environment may affect human wellbeing, not only at the high levels of exposure considered in noise management, and not only where the sounds result in human discomfort and adverse health effects, but also where the acoustic environment is pleasant and of high quality. In this chapter we explore the notion that access to high-quality acoustic environments may have a role in well-being, quality of life, and environmental health-intrinsically, or by way of mediation, moderation, or buffering-through some restorative and health-and well-being-promoting mechanisms. The limited literature available on soundscapes and restoration, and possible models for their interconnection, is discussed. This review necessarily intersects with other literature that examines links between, on the one hand, landscape, green space, open space, countryside, and recreation, and on the other, well-being, quality of life, and environmental health. Monetarization of health and well-being effects of high acoustic quality will also be touched upon. We suggest that further work is needed, even at the conceptual level, to increase our understanding of relationships between soundscape and health.
Soundscape and the Built Environment
Built Environment and Design not elsewhere classified