The Soundscape and Listening as an Approach to Sensuous Urbanism: The Case of Puerta del Sol (Madrid)

Abstract

This article focuses on the placemaking process and experimental research on the citizens' assessment of the soundscape in Puerta del Sol in Madrid. Numerous studies conducted in recent decades have shown that sound is a crucial element capable of providing new insights into the relationship between human beings and the environment. Sound possesses physical-sensory-perceptual qualities which connect the emotional and the rational aspects of the experience of the place, overcoming the aesthetic/scientific duality. By default, the soundscape is the result of a collective production. It is the resonant expression of the multiple activities and uses that inhabit a space. The soundscape of everyday life provides a vision of life in a particular place, giving meaning and a singular character to the fact of living there. The concept and methods of the soundscape arise from sensitive experiences of the place in direct relation to a community. This exploratory research focused on in situ methods (soundwalks, improvised interview mappings, sound archives, performances, and collective sound actions) as expressions of collective listening to place. This article also focuses on how to map and share the result of this research, the technology to build a collective digital place as a place of confluence of experiences, citizen knowledge, and reflection on the situated soundscape

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