Foster + Partners has developed a low-cost, portable noise monitoring device that allows laypeople to collect and visualise information about the sound around them, to share it with their neighbours and others, and to have a basis for informing policy that might shape their community.
Working in partnership with Wandsworth City Learning Centre, London Southbank University and the Noise Abatement Society, these devices will now be deployed to schools around the borough, offering school children a focal point for exploring the relationship between sound and wellbeing.
The Listening to London project will also create a soundscape of London that can inform planning and design at neighbourhood level, thereby benefiting local communities.
Given the low cost of the device, the project is easily scaleable and will provide a more human-centred understanding of noise patterns than those typically required for planning.
Knowledge from the project is already informing the practice’s work in masterplanning smart cities and providing valuable real-world data to validate analysis and enhance simulation capabilities.
The Listening to London project was highly commended at the AJ100 awards. The jury saw the “ingenuity and potential of the new lo-fi, low-cost tool to monitor and visualise local noise patterns”.