It’s oh so quiet… in our cities

A lot of commentary has been written on the demise of city centres and decreased footfall. My own home city of Waterford has sadly been affected with dwindling numbers and shop closures.

I happened to be in the city recently around 5pm and walked through the back entrance of City Square through Arundel Lane and I couldn’t quite put a finger on what was missing with the space. Then I came across an article by composer and architect Daniel Libeskind and it struck me that our city is too quiet – https://archpaper.com/2016/03/daniel-libeskind-acoustics-unexpected-architectural-process-latest-venture-one-day-life/

We have newly developed streets,  walkways and structures which are of architectural merit but they are deathly silent. They fail to harness the energy of the wind and generate music with moving sculpture, bring any wildlife into the city centre, no sounds of running water to soothe a frazzled shopper or bring the river further back into the city. Scant greenery to bring movement and colour add to a very quiet, even eerie and sombre street-scape. Even some music playing from speakers would breathe life back into it. When traffic was bustling through years ago and people were popping in and out of shops having parked up outside in their cars I remember hearing their radios, left on with a running motor.
Have we forgotten to tick the acoustics box when designing our cities?