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Sample the sounds of the city

British artist Stanza has published a growing database of urban soundscape samples (his Soundcities project) into a Google Map, allowing the user to sample the sounds of  world cities—including New York City.  The online, open-source database also allows users to contribute their own samples, and to freely use and mix samples from the database for their own projects.

In his introduction, the artist states that “Cities all have specific identities, and found sound can give us clues to the people that inhabit these spaces, as well as provoking us and stimulating our senses in a musical way.”

Projects like this (see also a similar project by the BBC) allow us to explore what a Chicago street has in common with an avenue in Tokyo, or to compare the quiet (or lack thereof) in New York’s Central Park to that at Skansen Kronan in Gothenburg.

What is still lacking is decibel noise level data for each sample, allowing a direct comparison of loudness.  This sort of calibration would be the only way to prove that one city is louder than the next—although, in the meantime, our money is on New York.

[PSFK via Curbed]