ResoundingCities: Acoustic Ecology and Games Technology (2006)

Harvey, L and Moloney, J. 2006. ‘ResoundingCities: Acoustic Ecology and Games Technology’ in J.D. Wulfhorst and Anne K. Haugestad (eds.): Building Sustainable Communities: Ecological Justice and Global Citizenship. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, pp. 181-196. 2006. ISBN: 9042021233.


Lawrence Harvey and Jules Moloney 

Despite increasing awareness of both the beneficial and detrimental effects of sound on all living beings, the acoustic environment is rarely discussed at environmental forums. Human aural experience is seldom considered within projects and forums investigating built and natural environments. Yet our individual actions and collective interactions impact on the acoustic environment in ways that affect our physical and psychological well-being, general health and ability to work, rest and communicate. As a factor of environmental quality in cities, sound and its effects tend to exist below the radar of most professionals and educators in all but sound-related disciplines. Designers are likely to play a key role in interrupting the un- sustainability of ever increasing sound levels and un-thought characteristics of sound in urban environments.

We present teaching projects from the Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory, RMIT University, using a collaborative virtual environment as a desktop soundscape laboratory. The technologies were used to create an experiential learning context closely integrated to technical, theoretical, and perceptual course components. Further, explanation of the teaching mode and the broader social and environmental contexts motivating efforts to raise the aural awareness of designers about to enter professional practice are discussed.

Keywords: acoustic ecology, games, collaborative virtual environments, design education


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