What do we want a city to sound like? What is a good sound environment? These questions formed the basis for a study of the acoustic environment conducted by Efterklang in four urban locations in the City of Helsingborg in 2018.
The assignment was to propose visually appealing noise-related measures to create attractive places for the residents of the city. In order to give the City of Helsingborg a nuanced picture of the acoustic environment and an easy-to-understand basis for decision-making, traditional noise measurements were conducted as well as measurements of the perceived soundscape in the four locations. Each location was divided into a grid, where the perceived acoustic environment could be mapped through a questionnaire. Sound was divided into different categories that were individually measured. This resulted in sound maps showing the balance and levels between the different categories. The sound categories that were measured were human sounds (blue), machine sounds (red) and nature sounds (green).
The acoustic environment study allows the City of Helsingborg to decide which sounds should be muted and which sounds should be preserved or amplified with simpler means. The delivery consisted of an educational basis for decision-makers, showing both measured and perceived sound levels as well as a toolbox with proposals for noise-related measures.