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The Urban Sound Planner

Final Report Summary - SONORUS (The Urban Sound Planner)

Details to the SONORUS Project can be found on as well as on the blog maintained by the ESRs, at

SONORUS had three main objectives:
• To conduct a research programme that addresses the key issues of modern urban planning with the goal of achieving a good acoustic outdoor environment, which is supportive for health and wellbeing.
• To implement a holistic approach to the planning of acoustic environments including diverse areas such as city planning, traffic management, soundscaping and noise control.
• To enhance the European knowledge economy by providing trained and mobile researchers equipped with the skills necessary to create a paradigm shift in the handling of transportation noise issues in urban areas and in this way to reverse the negative trend of a deteriorating acoustic outdoor environment in urban areas.

Main impact of SONORUS

In the run of the project we established “urban sound planning” as a new and independent area where acoustic planning, containing prediction, soundscaping and noise control, is opened to planners and architects. A main key for this is the booklet written by the ESRs from the perspective of planners and architects, which is also a proof that we successfully motivated the ESRs for a trans-disciplinary approach inside urban sound planning as intended by the project.
The approach of urban sound planning was very well perceived by the members of Eurocities (working group noise). The 14 ESRs participating in SONORUS are now working as ambassadors for urban sound planning in different contexts.
The cooperation with the city partners and the intensive work with test sites created attention inside the city administration about the importance and opportunities of thinking in terms of urban sound planning. The access to the outcomes of SONORUS contributed to an “education” of personnel inside city administration making them potential users of tools and knowledge from SONORUS. This can be seen as a nucleus for further spreading of the profession urban sound planning in the future.

Work inside SONORUS

SONORUS was organised in seven Work Packages (WPs) whereof WP2-WP6 contains training and research. The activities in these WPs are described briefly in the following.

WP2: Education
The following courses were carried out with complete ESR participation:
• Urban Sound Propagation
• Noise Control in Urban Areas
• Computational Soundscape Analysis
• Auralisation and Visualisation as Communication Tool in the Context of Acoustic Planning
• Leadership and Teambuilding

Leadership and teambuilding was one of the main contributions to provide transferable and generic skills. It was a one-week intensive course with strong reflections on the role as leader in a team. In addition, the ESRs participated on public outreach activities at their host universities (e.g. the yearly noise awareness day) and finally in the summary of the work inside SONORUS in the form of a booklet written by the ESRs with focus on planners and architects under the guidance of senior researchers. The booklet Urban Sound Planning can be found at

Research workshops
During the project, the network and research workshop were all carried out as originally planned, as follows:
• Ghent (Belgium), 2013-11-4, 2013-11-5
• Brighton (UK), 2014-10-06, 2014-10-8
• Rome (Italy), 2016-01-28, 2016-01-30
• Antwerp (Belgium), 2016-04-04, 2016-04-05
• The final research workshop, the final conference, was carried out in Munich (Germany), 2016-09-15 - 2016-09-16 with participants from SONORUS, Eurocities and others (see Dissemination section)

Research visits
All researchers have taken part in exchange programmes visiting other universities and research institutes of the consortium, according to plan. The visiting periods were together with the secondments at least 3 months per ESR.

All researchers have spent a period at a consultancy, city or research institute where they were involved in ongoing work.
Concerning implemented researcher-months, it was all according to plan except 2 missing months at partner Naples II, due to recruitment time for a new ESR after a resignation of the first employed ESR.

WP3: Prediction Methods
The work concerned:
Further development of the approach of interactive noise mapping
Design of engineering methods for non-directly exposed areas and for the influence of distant sources in quiet areas.
Further development of the Hybrid wave based/ray model for auralisation of traffic noise in urban centres.
Use and further development of state-of-the-art prediction methods for auralisation aiming to feed perceptual urban acoustics research and to act in combination with visualisation as a communication tool of urban sound environments

WP4: Soundscaping
The work concerned:
Development of computational model of auditory attention in urban environment
Application of new audio-visual tools for the noise annoyance assessment of urban projects Development of methods for the classification of urban historic areas and the creation of restoring routes through multi-sensorial perception and expectation
Evaluation of new indicators for soundscape perception
Affordability of the application of the Soundscape approach to large scale infrastructure projects

WP5: Noise Control and Design
The work concerned:
The practical use of greening in the urban environment
The possibilities to create and preserve quiet sides by shielding from direct traffic noise
The performance of screens in combination with vegetation and nearby buildings
Design of aesthetically accepted noise control measures for arterial roads
Facade structure design from an acoustical and architectural point of view
The development of optimisation strategies of integrating noise reduction elements and tools, and urban sound planning processes, through testing it in practical applications in case studies

WP6: Holistic Approach
Four test sites were defined by the city partners at the start of the project:
• City of Antwerp - “Singel Ring Road and Schijnvalley/E13 Intersection”
• City of Brighton - “Valley Gardens”
• City of Roma - “Flavian Amphitheatre (Colosseum) and Forum Romanum”
• City of Gothenburg - “Frihamnen”

For each test site project groups were established working with the specific needs of the test sites with respect to urban sound planning. Methods and tools developed in WP3-WP5 were implemented inside a holistic approach where also other parameters, e.g. traffic planning and city planning, were considered.
Although not planned from the beginning we initiated so-called “test site workshops”, one at each place, where we invited members of the city administration involved in the different test sites. This way of communicating the urban sound planning approach showed to be very effective but also very rewarding for all participants as they functioned as a catalyst for cooperation between different stakeholders.
The results from the work with the test sites are an important part of the booklet Urban Sound Planning as well as published in several scientific journals and at the INTER-NOISE 2016. The objectives of the Holistic Approach were all achieved.