For World Listening Day 2011, John and I created a SoundWalk through our locality, Aspley, in Brisbane’s northern suburbs. Starting at the centre on Gympie Road, to and through the Hypermarket, then along suburban streets to the Chermside Hills Reserve, and then back along the creekside pathway, we walked and listened to the shifting qualities of sound. In particular, as an experiment in listening in place, we considered how sound shapes our experience of place.
Since completing the 8km walk, we’ve created a SoundMap using Google Maps. Video has been created with the audio and photographs. Audio was recorded using a mobile phone. Videos are embedded in each map marker/pop-up balloon. Audio has also been uploaded to and linked to Chirbit. We hope you enjoy our SoundMap.
We believe this kind of project is a useful model for workshop development. It presents a creative way of engaging communities in reflecting on their sense of place, not only for community development but also for planning and design processes. The tools used for creating the SoundMap are freely and readily available. Like a Jane’s Walk, the SoundWalk presents an opportunity for undertaking a neighbourhood tour while also documenting specific aspects of the locality. Through that process, we became more aware of stresses in our locality, such as traffic and aircraft noise. We noted our concern that there weren’t many people walking and cycling and that we barely saw or heard any children during our walk. It was also the first time we walked through the Chermside Hills Reserve, which offered a very different acoustic experience to that of the suburban streets and highway.