with thanks to Coryn Smethurst for bringing this to our attention:
This article directly discusses the question that underlies our whole project. What effect do sound levels have on our health? The article points out that it is not just our mental health/wellbeing that suffers from high levels of noise pollution, but:
"High noise levels can exacerbate hypertension, cause insomnia or sleep disturbances, result in hearing loss, and worsen a plethora of other medical conditions. All of these problems can aggravate other health issues by inducing higher levels of stress, which can cascade into worsened immune systems, heart problems, increased anxiety and depression — the list just goes on and on."
Manchester Traffic: image courtesy of MEN Media
More than a hundred million people live in the world's ten largest cities, according to this article by 2100, 84 percent of the world’s estimated 10.8 billion people will likely live in cities. We know, from our own project that where there are people there is noise, (on certain days (national holidays) and in certain weather conditions (like snow that limit mobiliy) noise levels significantly decrease.
Dominique Tessier kindly passed me a copy of Urban Design (142: Health and Urban Design) which hasn't moved from the top of my pile of important documents since (except ofcourse to be taken with me on journeys so that I can read more/reread). This is a really positive contribution to the question of how we can all live together in cities and address the question of health and well-being within concentrated living. In it, Lucy Saunders identifies The Ten Indicators of a health Street (as adopted by Transport for London) including it being not too noisy, having clean air, people choosing to walk or cycle, places to stop - exactly the points that are emerging from our own project. There are also artciles on 'Designing Mental Health into Cities' and 'Healthy Placement as the New Normal'. When you read these articles, you feel that Urban Designers have really listened and are addressing the issues arising from our cities streets. This is an extremely positive and hopefuly journal which suggests that there are solutions out there that do not rely of new technologies or apps as yet undeveloped, but that common sense can prevail, putting people first seems to be the answer,,,