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Tempo Reale - Villa Strozzi - Via Pisana 77 50143 Firenze
Scientific & Music Program May 20-22 2011



Stefania GIAMETTA Soundscape's description and urbanism

Much of the modernity has acted on towns, following a trend deeply present in the society and then institutionalized thru the planning instruments: to separate and relocate people and things, "to hunt somewhere else what was not nice to see, what was unhealthy, which became socially dangerous, which made noise. "(Secchi B. 2000)
The same regulatory approach followed from urbanism and incorporated in the legislation about noise, contributes in maiking the city a powerful segregation machine, generating social exclusion and offering to the citizens a space increasingly hostile to the collective use. An open space reduced to a technical space, which contrasts the rise of different forms of spontaneous sociability.
It tends to solve problems caused by social and functional conflicts and by mutual intolerance triggered by the "noise" with the "removal" of what was at the origin of a nuisance, with the "separation " between the functions, the activities, the social groups; making the pair noise / silence, a more and more relevant indicator of social status of living space.
In our opinion, a challenge of the contemporaneity is to construct a friendly space for mixed activities (Z. Baumann, 2005). A space that overcomes the intolerance to noise, often due to the perception of a strange and unfamiliar soundscape, believing that the proximity between functions, activities and the differences between social groups, enriches the spaces, favouring and encouraging the collective use.
Soundscape's application offers the opportunity to apply its patterns to the study of urban sound, means allowing the possibility to address these conflicts overcoming the defensive perspective of regulatory tools and to address the collective long-term acceptability of sound spaces in their continual changing.
The soundscape permit us to work in urban areas with new and more pertinent tools of description.
Reintroducing the body and the subjectivity of experience with it, the soundscape allows us to work, through the sounds heard and recorded, with the people who live and attend an urban place, overcoming some limits of the scale of noise used as the sole reference in the legislation, including the role that the quantitative indicator has gained in the consolidation of a negative imaginary among citizens, identifying the noise with disturbance and pain
The new descriptions that arise from the contact with the sensitive world through the use of careful research methodologies, introduces significant shifts of meaning if compared with the absolute's claims of the cartography used in the noise representation.
These descriptions enable to represent sound spaces through a lexicon that, highlighting the many qualifications that sound brings to an urban space, perceptives as acoustics, it appears carrying new planning imputs, both useful to face administrations and citizens alike.

Stefania Giametta
I am dealing with research on issues concerning urban sounds, from the time of my thesis in Architecture entitled "Contribution to the formation of a lexicon for urban sounds" (1997).
I went on my search path: in CRESSON's Laboratory (Centre de recherche sur l'espace sonore et l'environnement urbain, Grenoble), where I had the opportunity to experiment with new tools of interpretation of the sound (1999-2001); and in IUAV University of Venice, where I devoted to these issues my PhD thesis in Urbanisme, experiencing some applications in different urban areas (2002-2006).
Currently I'm involved in environmental's education (with the realization of school laboratories), art (as, for exemple, in the field of Public Art, through the realization of audio - video designed to encourage the citizens's relations to their living and frequented spaces) and urbanism (participating to some urban laboratory).

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