White/acoustic infrastructure: a crucial tool for the transition to an environmentally sustainable future in urban areas: The case of Paris La Defense, a modern district in dissonance (2022)

Sara El Samman
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The national lockdown due to COVID-19 abruptly cut down on human activity in cities, and enabled urban dwellers to notice nature’s comeback through birdsong: It has shown that today’s urban environment is in acoustic imbalance. My research aims to provide an overview on how soundscapes fit into the landscape design process, and to explore the notion of white/sonic infrastructure in order to give a tangible tool for landscape architects to read landscapes with their ears and design acoustically sensible places for all living beings. Sound informs the design process not simply by reducing unwanted noise but by encouraging a sound-considered city design approach. This adopted strategy would entail the extraction and reinterpretation of sonic cues as blueprints for the reshaping of the space and the transformation of the soundscape experience for users and nature alike. The paper applies all of its findings on Paris La Defense, the biggest business district in Europe, who’s current morphology, within the ring of noise that is the “Boulevard circulaire”, dissociates it from its territory creating acoustic and physical discontinuities. A study of the flows that animate the site along with its morphology helped me extract the multiple sonotopes (sonic biotopes) that shape the acoustic space of the district. Sound maps were created and a white infrastructure strategy was furthermore developed. The article develops an elaborate method that could help translate a soundscape vision into concrete landscape design actions and proposes an approach to sonic continuities on large and local scales. White infrastructure affords the additional dimension necessary to conceive the landscape and to create space for the non-human, for the human, and for the dialogue between them. The notion of eco-acoustic design contributes to shaping a non-anthropocentric city that is considerate of all living things and therefore is crucial to designing ecological urban ecosystems.
typeresearch exposition
keywordsUrban soundscapes; Acoustic ecology; Sonic urbanism; Acoustic design; Sonotopes.
last modified17/10/2022
share statusprivate
affiliationESAJ - Ecole supérieur de la transition écologique
copyrightSara El Samman, the author
licenseAll rights reserved
published inResearch Catalogue

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id name copyright license
1766709 new coverrrr AUTHOR SARA EL SAMMAN All rights reserved
1766710 The Acoustic Space of La Defense The author - Sara El Samman All rights reserved
1766726 sound analysis on la defense The author - Sara El Samman All rights reserved
1766773 The projected flows map The author - Sara El Samman All rights reserved
1766794 Sonotopes identification map The author - Sara El Samman All rights reserved
1766799 Collage des sonotopes The author - Sara El Samman All rights reserved
1766810 acousric analysis - the sound sources The author - Sara El Samman All rights reserved
1766823 acousric analysis - the white infrastructure strategy The author - Sara El Samman All rights reserved
1766829 acoustic actions project map and landscapes actions The author - Sara El Samman All rights reserved
1766856 ECOSYSTEME de la TRAME BLANCHE The author - Sara El Samman All rights reserved

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