urban square early morning, with one person walking through, church in background, empty seats

Project DeStress is an exciting research and public engagement project exploring the connections between the sounds we hear in places (soundscapes), our ability to relax and recover (cognitive restoration) and the design of the built environment. The intention is for Designing and Engineering Soundscapes To enable Restorative Environments for Sustainable Societies.

The project combines knowledge on the health and wellbeing outcomes from experiencing sound in quiet and calm places and how this varies depending on the design of the surrounding buildings and infrastructure.

We want to engage with public, planners, designers, acousticians, and decision makers to understand more about how the sounds around us (soundscapes) impacts on our cognitive and emotional experiences of outdoor public city places. Learning about the effect of the physical design of our buildings, roads, parks, sustainable drainage systems, and city spaces on what we hear and do in places, will help us plan and manage our city and residential environments to be beneficial for people’s health and wellbeing and quality of life. 

Changes in our built environment can encourage people to stay in a place or quickly walk through it, thus we are interested in preserving those special urban places that do provide some quiet, calm, and tranquillity in our vibrant, buzzing cities. We are also exploring how the design of sustainable drainage systems can be managed to attract wildlife and uses vegetation that makes a positive contribution to the soundscape.

The Environment Simulator will soon be available again where you can design your own public urban place and check out how it will look and sound!

The previous Online Mapping Survey for Brighton and Hove, Edinburgh, and Sheffield residents, workers, and visitors is now closed.