From the same journal

From the same journal

From the same journal

Ecology of sound: The sonic order of urban space

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Published copy (DOI)


  • Rowland Atkinson


Publication details

JournalUrban Studies
DatePublished - 2007
Issue number10
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)1905-1917
Original languageEnglish


Sound provides an often-ignored element of our conceptualisation of the urban fabric. The power of music, sound and noise to denote place and demarcate space is used here to develop the idea of a sonic ecology. The paper attempts to map the relative order of this unseen city and to theorise its spatial and temporal patterning. The sonic ecology, a relatively persistent and chronologically ordered quality to sound in urban space, is used as a means of examining the distribution of sound and to weigh the broader social impact of these qualities. The ambient soundscape of the street is made up of a shifting aural terrain, a resonant metropolitan fabric, which may exclude or subtly guide us in our experience of the city, thus highlighting an invisible yet highly affecting and socially relevant area of urban enquiry.

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