Traffic, music, language and nature help to create unique soundscapes that are essential to the place-based character of each city. Taking into account both the urban soundscape and the impacts of sound on the urban dweller, this book examines sound not as a by-product of urban life, but as a fundamental part of the urban experience that is crucial to understanding the cityÂ´s sense of place. Illustrated by case studies from Europe and North America, these range from on-site measurements to the construction of audio tours for local tourism, from media analysis of popular culture audio drama to sound-identity and city branding, and from the classification of noise in city planning to a consideration of the complex relationship between sacred sound and the creation of a sense of place. Taking a social geographic perspective, the book focuses on the effects of sounds on the individual and how they influence the ways s/he engages the city as place, especially in their daily routines. In doing so, it uncovers the socio-scientific potential of sound in the urban environment, based on the understanding that sound cannot and must not be seen as detached from the urban landscape, but rather as a constituting element. Sound exists not only ’within the city’: it ’is’ the city.
Torsten Wissmann is Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at Johannes Gutenberg-University, Mainz, Germany.
’For many years the acoustic environment of cities has been neglected. It is only recently that attention has been given to this matter. This is supplied in Dr Wissmann's book Geographies of Urban Sound in which we visit many parts of the world, allowing us to compare developments past and present. Dr Wissmann has given us a well-planned environment and soundscape for the future.’ R. Murray Schafer, World Soundscape Project ’Wissmann’s insightful and accessible tome has gone beyond the trope of sight as the center of the urban experience by demonstrating the place of sound. He adroitly disassembles this missing sense into its constituent parts, re-envisions its essences, and then reassembles the pieces into a comprehensible whole of the city’s soundscapes. He does this by weaving together an eclectic array of methodologies, theories, examples, and places that ultimately provide a creative and pioneering reimaging of the experiential city. And as contemporary insight into the nuances of place, this book belongs sandwiched on your shelf between Gillian Rose’s Visual Methodologies and Tim Cresswell’s Place: A Short Introduction.’ Leo Zonn, The University of Texas at Austin, USA '... Wissmann has written an important book on an oft-neglected subject that deserves wide circulation within the discipline of geography and beyond.' The AAG Review of Books