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Maxime Jabier
directeur d'Acoustb (groupe Egis)
Published on September 14, 2020

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Sound as an action lever in the city

The city can be heard just as much as it can be seen. For the redevelopment of the Concorde sector, in the Faubourg de Béthune district of Lille, Egis' acousticians have made the sound environment, as perceived by its inhabitants, one of the key components of the urban rehabilitation project wished for by the City.

Concertation Faubourg de Béthune à Lille

Through the representation that citizens have of their sound environment and the use that they make of the various parts of the neighbourhood, we are able to give the future developer food for thought. - Crédits : Stéphane Malek / Acoustb

To allow people to enjoy good quality of life in this social housing sector, bordered on its southern edge by the A25 motorway and to the north by the Boulevard de Metz, workshops were organised with local residents to discuss the role of noise in the neighbourhood and propose ways of improving their living environment.

Building a shared soundscape

Specifically, each participant was asked to draw up a mental sound map of the neighbourhood. This method allowed the participants to work reflexively on what constitutes their daily sound environment using a graphic method. Once this personal work was completed, we brought everyone together around a map of the neighbourhood to collectively build a shared soundscape, which then fed into the technical orientations of the development project, based on the users' experiences and projections.

For a high quality acoustic environment

The process continued with an objective diagnosis of the internal acoustics of the buildings and the efficiency of their facades with respect to external noise. Following this, recommendations were made to guide the choice of designers (exposure, type of facade, etc.).

Finally, the task involved associating the different venues in the district (park, roads, shops...) with the notions of differentiated acoustic comfort to achieve peaceful cohabitation. Our objective was to establish a quality acoustic framework by creating a rich soundscape, perceived as lively, but subdued enough so as not to disturb the neighbourhood, and differentiated so that local residents can adopt these outdoor living spaces as their own and share them. The soundscape was thus created starting from the roads that generate most of the background noise, but also from the orientation of the buildings, the materials that absorb or reflect sound waves, and finally solutions to modulate or enhance the acoustics of a place (fountains to add the sound of lapping water, groves for birdsong, playgrounds for children, etc.). For while it is true that some noises are disruptive (road noise, construction sites, etc.), others, on the contrary, have a positive value and must be built into the daily soundscape as much as possible. Noise means life! The quest for silence is not the be-all and end-all of a successful development. Rather, a balance must be maintained between quiet areas and more lively areas, taking care to ensure that there is a transition between them.

 

 

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