The Balanced City Soundscape

ISA2019 Sessions

The Balanced City Soundscape



What is the sound of the future city? A simple question with a complex answer – you have to consider many different aspects of sound and sound sources; Will traffic noise continue to be the loudest sound source? If not – what will be heard instead? Can we create a mixer table over the city’s sound sources, which than can be ‘fader rided’ to create balance in the audible city soundscape? It may be impossible now, but what would be the first step in this direction?

Helsingborg is a city on the west coast of Sweden. ÅF Sound & Vibration was asked to do a sound environment study of four different places in the city, to conduct a quantitative and qualitative analysis and to suggest different solutions to improve the sound environment. To put the focus on sound environment, we started the research phase with a field study – sleepover in the city park. Something that proved to be rewarding in many different ways.

In this presentation Martin will speak about the process behind the project and the importance of bringing sound designers, traffic planners, acousticians and landscape architects to the table when trying to fine tune the city.

Project page


Martin Hallberg – Creative Sound Director, ÅF Sound & Vibration

Martin Hallberg is Creative Sound Director at ÅF Sound & Vibration – a full service acoustic consultancy. Martin works with communities, architects, retailers and marketers to conceptualize sound ideas for places, buildings and products that provide extra-ordinary experiences. He has over 20 years of experience in sound design and strategic sound profiling from different agencies including the award winning Radja Sound Design Agency, which he founded in 2003, and from ÅF Sound & Vibration, creating projects awarded with several Red Dot Design Awards and a gold in the Audio Branding Awards to name a few. Martin is a true believer in the need for cross-disciplinary approaches to how the world is sounding. He is engaged in several projects combining art, science and market to come up with new solutions for a better sound environment for us all.