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SoundScapeIssue 02 43Julian Treasure of The Sound Agency discussed Utopia Sounds: "In our louder and louder world," he asked "Are we losing our listening?" Julian shared ways to re-tune our ears for conscious listening - to other people and the world around us. In Creation Power, Dr John Drever from Goldsmiths, University of London illustrated how designers of gadgets and machines, and the individuals using them, should be aware of the impact of sounds associated with these products and the ways in which they affect people - and spaces.And, last but by no means least, Brighton Remixed was a soundscape installation by Esther Springett, a sound artist and facilitator, working with Dv8 Training Brighton, who run innovative, creative and media based training for young people. Esther helped a group of 16-18 year olds to explore their own soundscapes, listen in new ways and learn practical, technical skills, to help open up new opportunities for them in the creative industries. Their White Night soundscape installation, the culmination of a vocational based learning project, featured their recordings 'remixing the sounds of Brighton', presented through an audiovisual display.Clarion callMany applauded Sounding Brighton at White Night as brave and ambitious. But did it work?A core aim of the festival is to make use of the city's cultural resources to enable creative interventions that address city issues. The impact of alcohol abuse is an increasing problem for Brighton and Hove. 27% of adult drinkers are estimated to be binge drinkers and at weekends the city is a destination for clubbers and drinking. West Street with its pubs and clubs is designated as a 'stress area' by police.West Street Story: Come Together set out to be an antidote to the Saturday night drinking culture by creating sound 'occupations' which would change and soothe the noisy atmosphere of this street on a Saturday night.The scientifi c premise for the experiment was based on research compiled by Dr Harry Witchel in his book You Are What You Hear, How Music and Territory Make Us Who We Are which proffers that music can engender territorial and pleasure responses depending on whether listeners like what they hear. In this way music makes a space a place. Organised ambient soundscapes are a form of music and therefore can perform a similar function in making places enjoyable and welcoming.White Night's 'Utopias' theme was the perfect opportunity to focus on how sound could evoke the installation's goal of creating a place of togetherness, joy and love. To show a noticeable result this needed to be demonstrated in a diffi cult area like West Street. The festival enabled the project to take a creative and collaborative approach to challenging issues.Most importantly, combining arts and social action in an upbeat party atmosphere sent a positive, non-judgmental message, promoting cohesion rather than entrenchment in established views. Audiences on the night were large, positive and curious, engaging with the issues, which was stimulating for the artists. The experiment saw new audiences involved in White Night in West Street; and the original 3D ambient soundscape saw people laughing, hugging and dancing spontaneously - a marked departure from the normal tensions and aggressions the area is known for.Providing feedback on the event, police commented on how much quieter the West Street area was, so much so that they were confi dent enough to redeploy police elsewhere in the city. 96% of the audience surveyed felt safe that night as compared to 50% on a usual night. And the Alcohol Programme Board in the city are interested in supporting further work building on the lessons from West Street Story.With continued support from the council, police, residents and club owners the work begun during White Night will build on the experiment's fi ndings and trial new ways to address the city's night noise issues.Tuning the worldIn his legendary book The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World, Canadian composer and theorist R Murray Schafer states: "In various parts of the world important research is being undertaken in many areas of sonic studies. These researches are related; each is dealing with aspects of the world soundscape, the vast musical composition which is unfolding around us ceaselessly." And, he continues "This blurring of the edges between music and environmental sounds may eventually prove to be the most striking feature of all twentieth century music." Town planner and soundscape specialist Max Dixon concurs, "For the future, we will need more understanding, not just of how to control noise levels in decibel terms, but of the qualitative aspects. This includes what the sounds of things mean to us in context. The paradigm shift that R Murray Schafer began in coining the term 'soundscape' has far reaching implications for a truly ecological approach: developing soundscapes that are supportive of human wellbeing." Brighton and Hove City's foresight and commitment show that practical approaches towards better local soundscapes can be explored by engaging audiences in new ways of experiencing the richness and creative power of sound - and demonstrating how it can be viewed as a valuable 'resource'. It's time to get back to the future and as Schafer suggests "hear the acoustic environment as a musical composition and own responsibility for its composition."We must hear the acoustic environment as a musical composition and own responsibility for its compositionR Murray Schafer

SoundScapeIssue 0244The aftermath of the campaign against the third runway at Heathrow is turning out to be as remarkable as the campaign itself. Ten years ago most people would have expected that teams of construction workers would now be building the third runway. It was, after all, the prize the all-powerful aviation industry wanted above all else: a new runway for the world's busiest international airport.It didn't happen. Last year the new coalition government scrapped all plans for Heathrow expansion. This was after an iconic campaign involving local residents, environmentalists, local authorities and politicians from all political parties. The campaigners went for broke, and achieved their impossible dream.Now that the dust has settled, something equally noteworthy is stirring. HACAN, the organisation which represents residents under the Heathrow fl ight paths and the group at the heart of the coalition opposing the third runway, is sitting down with BAA, the owner of Heathrow Airport, to talk the scrapping of the scheme for a third runway at Heathrow has had an unexpected benefi t: the chance for a real discussion with key organisations about the true noise impact of fl ight paths. John Stewart reportsPlane truthsabout ways of reducing noise for residents under the fl ight paths.These are not, however, just vague discussions; the two organisations are putting together fi rm proposals which they can present to the aviation minister Theresa Villiers. Two sides, once divided by the width of a runway, are now sitting down together.How has it come about? After Theresa Villiers had made it clear she would particularly welcome contributions to the Government's emerging aviation policy from unlikely allies, HACAN tentatively approached BAA to explore areas where there may be common ground. Two areas emerged: fl ight path policy; and improving the way noise annoyance is measured.Flight paths have become a big issue for many residents living over 20 miles from Heathrow. It is the result of changes made 15 years ago. In 1996, the joining point for planes landing at the airport was extended by several miles, without any consultation with residents. It meant that for tens of thousands of people living many miles from Heathrow aircraft noise became a problem for the fi rst time. As many as 40 planes an hour could be fl ying over their homes. For years after the change had taken place, the authorities were in denial. There was no public recognition of the annoyance and stress it had caused. As one resident said, "We didn't move to the noise; the noise moved to us and the authorities are pretending it never happened."As the years passed, the situation became even worse for some communities as aircraft became concentrated on ever-narrower corridors. Check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXf8o_khz8s&feature=player_embedded. For these people, a bad dream had become a ghastly nightmare. Noise ghettos had been created.HACAN began campaigning for relief for those residents in these ghettos. Last year we sensed an opportunity. The Civil Aviation Authority was taking a long hard look at airspace for the fi rst time in decades. We had useful meetings with