How can we create an auditory environment that promotes well-being?

The Economist’s ‘N.L.’ wrote an interesting piece on the idea of designing urban noise for the well-being of commuters.  As environmental noise is inevitable and necessary for safety reasons, N.L. suggests increasing the number or natural sounds within the urban landscape will promote a more positive emotional response from pedestrians.

Quoting the work of Nottingham Trent University psychology lecturer, Deborah Hall;

…while it is probably not possible to redesign warning alarms (like tube or lift doors closing) a lot of unpleasant noise can come from ongoing sounds in the background, especially the constant rumble of traffic sounds. In Sheffield planners have built a long water feature (water running down a wall) that separates pedestrians leaving the railway station from the dual carriageway around the city centre. This makes the five-minute walk to the shops very pleasant.

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