Monday, 21 March 2011

Research Proposal


My proposal is to investigate methods of signifying and enhancing the appreciation of quietness in public open spaces. In particular to use and combine existing structures and approaches to bring an understanding of the value of quietness to users of open space, and eventually as an element of open space policy for local authorities.


I intend to work with an existing group of people who have an interest in a potential "quiet area" to explore opportunities to better understand the soundscape of the open space and thereby bringing an appreciation of quietness to users. The area I have in mind is Arno's Vale Cemetery in Bristol. There is an active group (Arno's Vale Cemetery Trust) and a series of activities already under way. I will start a discussion with the public engagement officer of the trust to determine if quietness and soundscapes can be brought within any of the existing activities, or if new activities, e.g. sound walks could be added to the programme.
I believe there is scope for using the Bristolstreets quiet mapping at a micro level to record the experiences of visitors and participants to build a picture of the emotional response to the soundscape of the area. I will investigate potential for this approach.

Who will be involved?

Arno's Vale Cemetery Trust, colleagues from Ways of Hearing(?). Gian Luca's work at Kensal Green Cemetery could inform some of my work and it would be interesting to hear more of his project. My proposal could also be of benefit to DEFRA in considering how the public can be engaged in the process of designating quiet areas. Public consultation is a key aspect of the Environmental Noise Directive, which mandates the designation of quiet areas.

What am I expecting as a result of doing the project?

I am expecting to learn more about the management of open spaces, the techniques for assessing soundscapes and the dynamics of groups who manage and visit open spaces. I would also like to be able to understand and reproduce a process that could be used to engage citizens on quiet areas.

Next steps

I will arrange a meeting with the public engagement officer for an exploratory discussion and do some online research to see what has been done already on this topic.

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