Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Sound of Suburbia: The suburbs are noisy!

This from the New York Times. Acoustical engineers have found that suburbia is nearly as noisy as urban centers:

Their findings, delivered on June 8 in Salt Lake City at the 153rd biannual meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, indicate that the noise level in the average suburb is approaching the noise level in the average city.

“The level of noise in the urban and rural areas we tested remained pretty consistent with the 1970 E.P.A. figures” — about 59 decibels in the city and 43 in the country, Mr. Szymanski said.

But in the suburbs, the average ambient noise level was 56 decibels — a whisper less than the average noise level in the average city, and 7 decibels higher than it was in 1970.

According to a Census Bureau survey, noise is the #1 "neighborhood complaint," ahead of crime, odors and poor public services. Increased noise is a marker of increased housing and population density in suburban areas, with more cars, more roads, etc. As a result, suburban communities are enforcing noise ordinances, restricting noisy appliances like leaf blowers (95 to 105 decibels) and weed whackers (94 to 96 decibels). Ice cream trucks have been ticketed for playing annoying jingles, and mosques have been sued for calls to prayer.


L.L. Barkat said...

This is why I like to mow my lawn with a manual mower. Just a little whir. The smell of grass. Nice.

Ellen said...

We live next to a high school foot ball field and the noise created there from games and other activities can be very, very annoying. This is especially true when our toddler is trying to sleep while the marching band is playing. Oh well.