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Soundscape assessment of a monumental place: A methodology based on the perception of dominant sounds

Pérez-Martínez, Germán, Martinez, Antonio J. and Ruiz, Diego P. (2018) Soundscape assessment of a monumental place: A methodology based on the perception of dominant sounds Landscape and Urban Planning, 169, pp. 12-21.

Record type: Article


Some monumental sites have unique soundscapes that deserve to be managed not only by their tourist and cultural value, but also for enhancing the visitors’ overall impression. These sites can include a multitude of sound sources within a variety of different locations with geometrically different spaces in size and shape, so that the soundscape assessment could be quite challenging. The hypothesis of this study is that regardless of the complexity of sound sources comprising a given acoustic environment, the perceived soundscape quality is driven primarily by the evaluation of the subjectively dominant sounds. This hypothesis was tested in a field study conducted in a monumental site with historical relevance located in a semi-natural environment (the Alhambra of Granada, Spain). The main finding was that, for a given location, the higher the percentage of visitors reporting a pleasant sound as dominant, the higher the reported soundscape quality and overall impression. Moreover, it was found that: (i) the sounds of birds, water and visitors (voices and footsteps) are the sounds primarily reported as dominant, (ii) the throngs of visitors (human sounds) negatively affect the soundscape quality, (iii) natural sounds increase the reported pleasantness, especially water sounds, which significantly improve the perceived soundscape quality. The practical implication is that, with appropriate information on subjectively dominant sound sources to prioritize corrective actions, soundscape management and its enhancement will require much less time and operational effort than other options for soundscape assessment based on the use of extensive questionnaires.

Text LAND-D-16-01065R2 - Accepted Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 17 February 2019.
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Accepted/In Press date: 31 July 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 17 August 2017
Published date: January 2018


Local EPrints ID: 414154
ISSN: 0169-2046
PURE UUID: 2934ab27-87d1-4e79-8b82-0a51baf02863
ORCID for Antonio J. Martinez: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 15 Sep 2017 16:30
Last modified: 15 Sep 2017 16:30

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Author: Germán Pérez-Martínez
Author: Diego P. Ruiz

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