Saturday, 28 November 2009

The Sound of Recession

So what is the sound of recession?

Economic decline can have a major impact on our soundscapes, both in the private and public environment. I know that in a way the recession has made my home a quieter place, as a half finished development stands untouched just a few meters from my window. The sound of workmen, banging metal and sawing wood are all absent, replaced just by the gentle flapping in the wind of the plastic sheeting that hangs from the roof.

I am currently undertaking research into how the current recession has affected the sounds of our lives and would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

Is your life quieter because of the slowing of construction? Has a new job or unemployment bought about new sounds? Are once bustling streets now deserted and quiet? Does an increased consciousness of money lead you toward different activities with different soundscapes?

I would be really grateful to hear about any of your thoughts and experiences around the subject, so to tell me your stories, or for more information about the project, please email me at or just leave a comment below.


Sunday, 22 November 2009

Noise and Mental Performance

I have just been reading a really interesting report into Noise and Mental Performance by a team of researchers from the University of Belgrade.

They bring together evidence demonstrating that exposure to background noise has a detrimental affect on our ability to carry out mental tasks, but go further to explain how different personality traits tend to react differently to noise.

Those with more extrovert personalities tend to have a higher threshold and can perform mental tasks with a relative amount of background noise without showing signs of reduced performance. Whereas the mental performance of those with more introvert personalities tend to suffer at a much lower level.

They go on to explain how this can cause less extrovert people to perform worse at work, firstly by affecting their ability to think and act and secondly by encouraging them to finish tasks quicker and less thoroughly to escape the uncomfortable situation.

There are many other factors to take into consideration but it is interesting to think about the various components that contribute to our differing personalities and how these in turn can help and hinder us in life.

Click here for the full report

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Wall of Silence

Found out recently why the huge concrete structure dividing Manchester's Piccadilly Gardens and the Tram and Bus station was designed the way it was by architect Tado Ando. The shape and materials were used specifically to reduce noise from the buses and trams into the gardens.

More about it here