Addressing transdisciplinary challenges through technology: Immersive soundscape planning tools


We discuss the challenges with transdisciplinary research, and preliminary results of our own transdisciplinary work in progress. Through this, we hope to share methods for productively engaging with those from different fields, as well as professionals outside of academia.
Our project centers around the design and development of immersive tools (e.g., Virtual Reality (VR)) to help non-sound professionals plan for better sounding public spaces. Currently, Professionals of the Built Environment (PBEs) (e.g., urban planners and designers (Steele, 2018)) do not have adequate access to sound-planning tools; they primarily focus on maximum allowable sound levels, as opposed to creating a pleasant auditory experience for city users (Bild, Coler, Pfeffer, & Bertolini, 2016). Unfortunately, this lack of sound-planning by PBEs discounts the significant benefits to be had when sounds are properly planned for. Examples include promoting public space utilization (Steele, Bild, Tarlao, & Guastavino, 2019), fostering social interactions (Steele et al., 2019), and promoting stress recovery by providing a calm environment (Krzywicka & Byrka, 2017).
Yet, to solve such a problem, one must draw from many different sources: software development for the tool (computer science); the auditory experience (psychoacoustics); city planning (e.g., urban design and planning); the needs of the city users (sociology), etc. Such a problem requires not only an interdisciplinary solution that considers the above fields, but rather a transdisciplinary solution, as this research must be grounded in the pragmatic needs of professionals from outside of academia, in order to facilitate future adoption and change that may benefit society.

Jun 9, 2022 4:45 pm — 5:15 pm