Overview

Applying creative sound practices and landscape design principles to existing ecological research into urban green spaces expands our understanding of the critical role of urban green spaces for attracting biodiversity and improving well-being. Future applications include urban design, public art, and smart cities.

This project is a unique creative interdisciplinary project that brings together four schools across the College of Design and Social Context at RMIT University from science and art, to landscape architecture, industrial and sound design. 


Science &
Art

This installation brings together parallel projects being undertaken at RMIT exploring art and science approaches to urban design to enhance human well-being and biodiversity.  It draws on an existing ARC Linkage Grant project, entitled Designing Green Spaces for Biodiversity and Human Well-Being, conducted by Professor Sarah Bekessy and her team at ICON Science at RMIT University and an RMIT project exploring public-art and sustainability in urban space.

Designing Green Spaces' is seeking to better understand the role of urban design in attracting biodiversity and enhancing human well-being, and an RMIT art project exploring public-art and sustainability in urban space.

It is well researched the benefits that Urban green spaces contribute to a myriad of ecosystem services, delivering a remarkable range of human well-being benefits.

However, how these spaces are designed is not well researched. Scientists will be investigating how features of urban design, of green spaces, can link to greater social well being and biodiversity outcomes.  

The project will take place using digital screen testing and a modular experimental greening intervention at RMIT University.

Sound artists will collaborate with the scientists to explore the role public art can take in the design of Urban green spaces by developing a sound project that integrates with the scientific research. 

Fielding seamlessly aligns with the research questions asked and will contribute additional research outcomes based on creativity and art through the medium of sound.

This project will research the role that sound might contribute in: 

*How people interact with green space through the role of the sonic
*How the plants/sounds attract animals and birds and how their presence/absence affects the space, the plants as well as human interaction


sound
Research

The role of sound is complex, particularly in cities. If there are ‘good’ measurable alpha waves created through experiencing nature, studies show environmental noise can disrupt those waves, violating our viewing experiences - and potentially any well-being benefit.

Fielding’s two lead artists, Catherine Clover and Jordan Lacey, are exceeding typical ‘Biophilic’ approaches that focus exclusively in bringing nature into our cities. They ask how we could reconsider urban ecologies by considering more carefully, nature-urban mixes.

The arrangement and mixing of the works, by masters student, Sophie Gleeson, was guided by the listening and compositional approaches of Pascal Amphoux from CRESSON (Centre for Research on Sonic Space & Urban Environment). This method involves sub-dividing sonic information into three categories: sonic background, sonic ambience, and sonic signal. The categorisation is achieved through listening to environmental characteristics, and spatial and temporal aspects. 

  • Sonic background refers to the order of sound one does not pay attention to — the constant drone of air-conditioner vents, for example.

  • Sonic ambience refers to the order of sound that gives a place its distinctive character, or ambience, often characterised through movement and rhythm. For example: the distinctive rhythmic sounds that characterise a tram ride.

  • Sonic signal refers to sounds we do not have to listen for; they grab your attention unexpectedly. For example: voices, sirens, the bell of an elevator arriving.

Artist Jordan Lacey says, through listening, the sound works were placed within their respective categories, and then composed together as one ‘sonic landscape’. 

The tracks have been incorporated into an interactive audio system designed by Edward Rossi. The different approaches will render different listening experiences, with each listener experiencing the works in their own way.