Editor’s View (Dec 2017)

Oh behalf of everyone here at Noise/News International, I would like to wish everyone the very best this holiday season. I hope you enjoy this issue of NNI. As ever we have updates from all around the world and some interesting and informative articles and book reviews. We’re also introducing a new feature called NOISE/NOTES, which rounds up all the news that has been featured on our social media sites in the last few months. Please continue to follow and interact with us on Facebook and on Twitter (@NNIEditor).

As we begin to say goodbye to 2017, it is probably time to reflect on some of the highlights for the year. And for me, I had an epiphany of sorts in 2017! In November I was lucky enough to run the New York City Marathon. I’ve often heard it said that if you ever want to see good in the world, you should wait at the end of a marathon and watch everyone cross the finish line. While I can certainly appreciate this sentiment, another thought occurred to me while I was running (and I had a lot of time to think during the race!).

I have read that the soundscape approach to assessing the urban acoustic environment often considers the urban acoustic environment as a resource as opposed to a problem that must be controlled. In essence, we should focus on assessing the positive aspects of a soundscape rather than the negative. The idea of sound as a “resource” was never more apparent to me while running this marathon.

This was most evident as I approached Manhattan from Queens. The marathon route goes over the Queensboro Bridge. While running over this bridge (for just under a mile), it is a pretty quiet environment—all you hear is the sound of runner’s feet hitting the road. But as you get closer and closer to First Avenue, you start to hear the crowd, and then boom!—you run right into a wall of sound along First Avenue that pretty much carries you all the way home. The contrast in sound levels between the bridge and First Avenue is something I will never forget. And it was certainly a resource for me and the 50,000 other runners running that race.

Next time I might wear a dosimeter!
Eoin King, Ph.D.