Silent Cities

Photo by Sónia Ferreira is licensed under CC-BY 4.0
Did you notice how the soundscape of your city changed during lockdown?

Researchers from CIBIO-InBIO and CEF-ISA have joined efforts to coordinate the Silent Cities project in Portugal. Taking advantage of the available equipment, and an amazing network of volunteers it was possible to get excellent geographic coverage with the installation of 55 recording devices. CIBIO-InBIO researchers and the project PORBIOTA contributed with 13 devices.

The global COVID-19 pandemic that we are currently facing is forcing most countries around the world to put in place social distancing and/or drastic population containment measures. A notable effect of these measures is the reduction of many urban economic activities. This decline in activities is directly linked to a reduction in several inter-and intra-urban physical flows, primarily among which are individual travel—all modes combined—and motorized transport of people and goods. These movements and transport are two major sources of anthropogenic noise in all spaces, both urban and rural.

Starting from the abnormal situation generated by the COVID-19 pandemic in territories placed in more or less strict containment, a group of researchers from RENOIR-Colectiff de Recherche asked the Ecoacoustic international community to participate in a collection of urban sonic environments to document these rare urban soundscapes. Based on standardized global ecoacoustic monitoring over several. The three main scientific objectives are:

  1. To study in “ordinary spaces” the ecoacoustic diversity usually masked by anthropogenic noise.
  2. To study the relationship between biophony and anthropophony within different levels of economic activity, as the economic activity of a territory will slowly be restored.
  3. To finely characterize the relationship linking the anthropogenic noise to the level of stable economic activity of a territory.

More information about the Silent Cities project here, stay tuned to find out the results from this project!