The last few months have been exciting, with lots of activities happening for Project DeStress. The identification of quiet, calm, or tranquil urban outdoor places has started by the public, with 511 points being mapped in the case study cities of Edinburgh, Sheffield, and Brighton and Hove.
The mapping questionnaire was launched on International Noise Awareness Day, April 25th. This was shortly followed up by a blog post promoting the mapping questionnaire as part of Noise Action Week which started May 25th and is run by Environmental Protection UK. Throughout this time, Dr Payne was on BBC Sheffield radio and STV Edinburgh news discussing the project and inviting people to participate in the study. The mapping questionnaire is open until September so there is still plenty of time for people who live, work, or regularly visit those three cities to map their quiet, calm, and tranquil places, describing what they see, hear and do in these places. The data will help establish the physical infrastructure and social conditions that combine to create a publically perceived quiet place. This can help develop more comprehensive guidelines for identifying quiet places that need protecting and for planners to help consider sound issues in future developments or adaptations to existing sites.
Next month Sarah Payne will be presenting at the International Association for People-environment Studies (IAPS) conference in Rome, Italy. She will be presenting in a symposium session entitled “Innovations and new methods in Restorative Environment research”. Project DeStress work matches the drives of the IAPS’ Restorative Environments Network and given the focus on soundscapes it also aligns with the Sensory Environments Network, both of which Sarah has been convening for the last 6 and 4 years respectively. This summer she will be handing over convenorship of the networks as she has been voted to become a member of the IAPS board. Through this role Sarah will help the much-loved organisation continue to grow and develop, supporting people-environment research and its real-world application.
Finally, the team working on Project DeStress is growing! A Post-doctorate Research Assistant has been recruited and will soon be announced once all the contracts are signed. Similarly someone has been chosen to become the PhD student associated with this project and is eager to start in September. More news to follow on this very shortly!!!