The negative human response to the environmental soundscape – namely noise – is a significant stressor that has been shown to have adverse impact on the health. Increased hypertension, myocardial infarction, and mortality rates have all been associated with increased exposure to noise. Unfortunately, beyond noise ordinances and noise complaint hotlines – very little is known about noise in cities and the extent to which it disrupts the lives of its residents. NoiseScore is a recently released smartphone application designed to address these shortcomings by allowing users to objectively and subjectively describe their daily soundscape and map their responses in real-time.
In this brief talk, Dr. Walker will discuss the development of NoiseScore and how it can empower citizens to track and combat community noise issues. After the talk, Dr. Walker will lead a walking tour around the streets of Cambridge to demonstrate how NoiseScore can be used to map and analyze the urban soundscape of the Harvard campus.
Erica Walker is an environmental exposure scientist with research interests in community noise. Her primary work involves developing exposure metrics to better predict how community noise impacts human health. She is also dedicated to translating her research into a series of community noise advocacy tools. Dr. Walker has measured the sound levels and noise perception extensively in the Greater Boston Area and has documented her work via Noiseandthecity.org. Last year, she released Greater Boston’s first ever interactive community noise report (boston.noiseandthecity.org) and recently released NoiseScoreTM, a smartphone application funded by The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. NoiseScore allows users to objectively and subjectively describe their environmental soundscape and map their responses in real-time. Dr. Walker holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Economics and Urban Planning from Tufts University and a doctorate in Environmental Health from The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.