Cityofsound Journal Cars b/w Are Friends Electric

29 Апр 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Cityofsound Journal Cars b/w Are Friends Electric отключены
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Journal: Cars b/w Are Electric

An article in The Economist that electric cars generate a noise to compensate for the of combustion engine noise, as are so quiet.

Despite noting is little research (thought note some later), The says “Some drivers say when their cars are in mode people are more to step out in front of them. The many now believe, is to fit electric and cars with external systems.” Their subtitle “Sound generators will electric and hybrid cars — indicates this is position too.

Where to

Let’s quickly deal the safety issue first. will adapt easily We’ve adapted to numerous modes of transport in the past the need to artificially increase the that mode of transport (though the first automobiles a man with a flag walking in of them. Is this not the aural of that, and so equally likely to away?)

One of the numerous reasons why are a more civic mode of is that they do not make noise. Even at the speeds can get up to, this near-silent mode is still safe enough not to a pedal-powered drone, say. A suffices, and after that about taking due care and on both sides.

As bikes become the dominant mode of transport in cities, this change. Cyclists, a few idiots have to rely on individual to a greater extent than partly due to their relative This is not a bad thing necessarily it forms a thin undulating of civic substrate .

This aspect of The Economist’s article is of auto-centric thinking, and so the concomitant for speed and freedom … and often Speed and freedom are not intrinsically but they can be. Cars moving at in urban areas are indeed — they are responsible for horrifying numbers of fatalities and and it’s a bit rich to suggest the to that particular problem is engine noise.

Presumably, if had genuinely wanted to solve problem they’d have a little harder before, than apparently relying on the effect of a noisy carburrettor.

A comment from The Economist :

“As a Prius owner offended times daily by excessive of motorcycles, trucks, booming car horns, rude cell users, etc. I applaud the I am a responsible person and expect to be … end of discussion.”

Quite. And another pointing to interesting-sounding research:

National Highway Traffic Administration held a hearing in DC June 23, 2007 to gather the and data. It turns out that in of having over 500,000 in the USA starting from 2000, is no accident data showing an risk to pedestrians. The Prius has the pedestrian accident rate as gas vehicles.”

On more general the congestion that cars also limits their speed in cities (currently to about 30km/h in Sydney at the There’s an argument to make slower than this. will suggest a GPS-enabled fitted to cars at some i.e. enforcing a low top speed the GPS indicates it’s in particularly areas (e.g. ). However, the point of cars is freedom than inhibition, and I d prefer to see issues solved through space ’ strategies, such as espoused by Hans Monderman.

drivers are responsible for negotiating space alongside others, few if any demarcations or regulations of space cars, pedestrians, bikes It’s been proven to streets both safer and effective. In terms of the way streets feel it’s closer to film of George Street, in 1906. (The version uploaded here allows you to compare it with the Sustainable 2030 strategy for a pedestrianised, George Street.)

Without wishing to romanticise of that 1906 film actual bubonic plague had lurking in that same a few streets to the north only a few before that film was it does indicate a more system, based on interdependent responsive actors negotiating far more fluidly than the effects of mid-20th-century road where everyone eventually off worse. This is hardly a without noise, and note how blurred lines of George enable pedestrians, bikes, and carts to occupy the same relying on multi-sensory feedback but with shared responsibility for aware. Remaining alert and the horn might become relevant than the constant therefore less useful) hum of noise.

Regarding shared and horns, a passage in Geoff typically enjoyable latest in Venice, Death in Varanasi us that not all urban traffic and is the same. Jeff/Geoff is in India:

din of horns rendered use of the horn superfluous and essential. The streets narrow, potholed, trenched, There was no pavement, no right of way no wrong of way — and, no stopping. The flow was so dense we were rarely more an inch from whatever was in beside or behind.

But we never Not for a moment. We kept nudging and and bumping our way forward. Given the chance — a yard! Sanjay went for it.

What, in would have constituted a was an opportunity to acknowledge the courtesy of a road-user. There were no opportunities, of course, and the idea of made no sense for the simple that nothing made any except the relentless need to going. From the airport to the Sanjay had used the horn now that we were in the city instead of using it repeatedly, he it going all the time.

So did everyone Unlike everything else, did make sense. Why take hand off the horn when, a later, you’d have to put it on?“ [From Jeff in Death in Varanasi by Geoff ]

Back in Western cities, car use will likely drop for reasons which I hope are by now (I can see that the loss of engine might be an issue for blind but would look for a specific — perhaps a non-visual only they can perceive as a car — rather than the quality of the urban experience for (ethically dubious perhaps).

autocentric, the second aspect of The article is borne of what Pallasmaa would call thinking — an inability to the city, or much at all, in of non-visual senses. If the safety resolves itself — fewer cars, and people — and understanding that noise is hardly keep the safe in the first place, move on to two more interesting

One, if naturally quiet should generate a noise, should that be? And two, if doesn’t happen, what increasingly quiet cars do for the soundscape?

On the first point, The quotes a Dr. Rosenblum who is researching area:

“What sort of should electric-powered cars They could, perhaps, as some pedestrian crossings do, or like a power tool. worked with blind Dr Rosenblum is convinced of a different “People want cars to like cars.” The sound not be very loud; just enhancing the noise of an oncoming vehicle would be enough to the auditory mechanisms that the uses to locate approaching he adds.” [ Electric cars make a noise , The Economist ]

aside the spurious idea of people what they to want, reproducing the sound of the combustion engine would be It would be a skeuomorph too far — a feature that nods to an functional incarnation, with no need to. At some point a has to replaced, and slowly takes its and by-products with it. The car industry is loath to do this of course. One of the exciting features of the MIT CityCar is that in suggesting a new driving it implicitly indicates how little has about interface design of — ignition, accelerator, brake, steering wheel all remain essentially unchanged for (save a few brave attempts Citroën et al).

This is not an issue of icon — as with an old telephone representing the function to make a on the iPhone — but an entirely new mode. These are new forms of potentially, and suffuse with — unnecessarily tying to vestiges of the previous mode may them realising their

Doing this with would generate aural that simply don’t that level of intrusion. A disk icon still ‘Save’ in Windows 7 is anachronistic and augur well for the Microsoft but it hardly changes the essence of the urban area.

Electric or cars do make a sound of It’s just a different to the combustion engine. It s a whine, a a whoosh.

Even the ugly is a joy to hear in comparison, if not to see, reversing out of a drive. As one of the comments on The article brilliantly points there is potential for a rather progressive sound choice

“My vote is for a somewhat high-pitched noise ala the Jetsons. After when I was a kid, this is I expected 21st century would sound like”


imagining that as the vehicles in Allen’s magnificently silly . This too is a form of nostalgic though.)

Yet if electric cars do to make a specifically designed, noise, let’s at least that a little. Brian Eno suggested that horns in should have a little variation in their noises that they could a variety of audio signatures, on context. The car is the same.

Just as the Honda Puyo concept car its bodywork could glow colours to indicate different so the audio signature of the car could be and responsive. Akin to an instant status indicator, the car’s would indicate modes or that the user wishes to or change in tone as it passes the of a friend in the street (admittedly, a that would need an off for sure.)

This is akin to the ‘I Your Path’ Facebook app MIT’s SmartBiking. but in real-time. the sound is a filtered rendition of the playing in the car — RJDJ rather than internalised or is simply the music playing across the bodywork (one of the appealing sounds associated cars in cities is that of a throbbing sub-bass so impossibly that one looks across and that the back seats been surgically removed to a giant bass-bin, with the chassis becoming a sound-generating These cars also have a glowing UV light their skirts, and thus we can assume the drivers are clearly the most safety-conscious on the streets, their imminent arrival to the and deaf alike.) Whether the of the streets is improved or further by more clearly hearing collective cacophony will on the musical literacy of your

While most signals are for the driver only — life indicators, personal etc. — and so best inwards, there may be some in cars as broadcasters of something more enriching than the roar of internal combustion.

As these cars will be addressable and responsive (sooner or there’s possibility of creating an between their sounds and the environment. Cars could with each other in as they pass, and so shift sounds in response to each to create discordant atonalities or consonant harmonies. As you drive 110th Street in Harlem, car cheesily fades up into the from ‘Across 110th with a passing Fiat in on percussion while two Nissans the horns and electric guitar. hanging on the corner are destined to the most annoyingly intermittent version imaginable).

An array of and guan strike up as you drive Chinatown, sounds commissioned by the tourist board. Kyoto’s crossings are scored with the knock-knock of doppler’d shishi-odoshi .

some urban areas sound designers to ‘prime’ streets with latent which are then performed by cars. SND score Sheffield as a of pulsing, jittery staccato cars pausing at a stop-light in are suddenly part of a DJ Signify Steve Roden pins up a of aleatoric triggers across Park; Janek Schaefer fields of static and broadcast aurally hung across car exits throughout West in homage to JG Ballard, marking up the and its concrete islands, whereas positions a layered series of tones along Hackney Steve Reich re-scores Life — and most of his for that matter — for streets, cars chattering and forth to each other in of conversation, strings and piano; sees cars as an intercontinental chamber between Barcelona, and Marseilles, bodywork rippling live feeds from city streets; Juana plants her sinuous sounds Buenos Aries, activated as drive through her invisible space. Drivers begin to the threaded patterns through the attempting to stay ‘in tune’ …

is so affecting — often far distracting than visual — that its use and abuse be of primary concern. It is certainly arena of urban informatics could be mishandled by a pervasive culture, even one trying to behavioural change ‘for the (The pitch of the car’s whine shifts depending on the energy or water consumption of the it’s driving through, and so receive constant, nagging reminders of their performance. The in local crime levels are out, a form of Oakland with cars generating heatmaps, incidentally increasing the of all within earshot.

Perhaps the of the car changes if the driver is talking on mobile, the driver’s speech triggering exact echoes in the hum (so you can tell an Italian driver a New York driver from an driver. ) Perhaps the car’s increases in pitch if the driver has had a or two. Russell Davies in my thoughts, with respect to spam …)

I actually think given half a chance, we miss the noise of cars (as we it) in our cities at all. When we ) design new cities, and are able to without private car use, our models and simulations indicate levels that are far more I don’t mean quiet, as are always noisy — as are, and this is one of the glorious about both — but it was possible to hear more, in detail, and over a wider

When Geoff Manaugh Arup’s Neill Woodger (in , June 2008 ) about new and the SoundLab aural modelling Woodger said, “These are an opportunity to think about a new sound experience, including the to bring sounds back cities. People haven’t known that they can the sounds of a city …” Masdar, Abu Dhabi and predicated on light personal rapid transit and no cars, affords the same as the Dongtan design. (I’ve speculated about the kind of SoundLab approach .)

Cities should not be quiet, or replete with so-called sounds — whatever means post-nature, and post-industrialisation but the urban soundscape is something could use a little more for manouevre, dynamically. To be clear, I m not to cars or car noise. Some car are hugely appealing. It’s best experienced as a distinct and timbre in a richer, more city symphony, as opposed to the ambient roar of thousands of engines.

This latter has a suppressing effect on urban akin to the scourge of overusing the in contemporary music production. If is loud, nothing is.

Buses – the transport mode that cities tend towards are often the worst offenders. buses are particularly egregious, the loudest I’ve heard in any As I’m that way inclined, I’ve to sporadically measuring the decibel on city streets using the but currently flawed iPhone app (see also NoiseTube ), and levels well over when a bus or two roar by, even on an street corner. This is to standing in a sheet metal and you can watch people actually subconsciously feeling how unpleasant it is.

It to iPod users turning the up further as a form of aural race (a lose:lose scenario). importantly, it flattens the possibility of urban sounds. (That have started to cover ears for the last few years, by white headphones, may be telling in

That buses are allowed to be way is due to an endemic lack of understanding of — it simply isn’t by many policy-makers and so rarely In the case of public transport and procurement, travel times is as far more important than Again, this is the outcome of an culture to some degree, but a culture that suffers a paucity of understanding of the urban in general.

City and state officials need not be conversant the works of John Cage, but qualitative probes into the experience are surely important.

like the London Ambient Strategy are unusual, yet even they do exist they are about noise abatement than ‘positive soundscapes’.)

Jan Gehl s team were on Sydney s CBD, with results. they also to the conclusion that the city was noisy, and due to the combination of buses and form (tight canyons). In an in the Sydney Morning Herald s (sydney) magazine last focusing on noise, Gehl Sydney has tremendous noise in most streets and squares. The cause is the buses that a tremendous roar when accelerate and a shrieking sound they brake. The Herald decibel levels in several in Sydney s CBD and also managed to over 100 decibels outside the Victoria Boulevard, noting any to noise above 85dB can damage your hearing any exposure above 120dB, brief, can have far greater

High noise levels are associated with hypertension, heart damage and depression.

Oh However, this focus on (and decibels) as a measure of is a little crude, leading to noise abatement rather a more expansive palette of How high and low frequencies might or more qualitative, descriptive of sound, are rarely discussed or

So with heavily car-scaled like Sydney, or Los Angeles it s almost impossible to imagine how these streets might without cars.

With a new like Vauban in Freiburg, , which has been planned to function sans autos . the possibilities should be fascinating. this New York Times on Vauban makes very reference to how different it might There is only the tantalising When I had a car I was always tense.

I’m much happier this said Heidrun Walter, a trainer and mother of two, as she verdant streets where the of bicycles and the chatter of wandering drown out the occasional distant

It would be interesting to explore how a sound might be articulated, naturally or by design, without the of pervasive engine noise. If is as loud as, say, 55db, an electric car be about the same? Or a car s engine be effectively silent, so our become defined more by the of an espresso being made, the and whirr of contemporary industrial chatter, whistling, a parakeet, in the breeze, lapping water in the chimes of ringtones, the rumble of and the foghorns of distant ships, a shop or a violinist tuning up, a pub and sundry art installations, the bells of a prayer calls etc.?

The Soundscapes project indicates the of noises that people may appealing is actually far broader this — car tyres on bumpy asphalt, the distant of a motorway flyover, the rumble of an train and the thud of heavy heard on the street outside a a baby laughing, skateboarders in underground car parks and orchestras up. And though I note “the roar of the flyover in that I’d rather hear more the results of their research Dr. Rosenblum’s.

I don’t think miss the noise of cars apart as something special. And can be something special in the urban (as I hope my decision to illustrate piece with snippets of make clear). Cars are about freedom not transit.

are for fun, not for the daily grind. may increasingly be seen as out of place in a city on a Tuesday morning at The idea of them as mass for most people, given urbanisation, is faintly ludicrous.

they re for casual use, for the enjoyment of the driving experience. for the weekend, if you like.

In that their sounds can be considered as special too. We can more appreciate the throaty purr of a Ferrari Daytona or the brawny of a 3.5 litre 1978 Ford or the lawnmower rattle of a 2CV or the saucy of an old DS, lifting skirts and all, as we’ll always appreciate the and hiss of tyres on wet road.

The of this is that we won t particularly the sound of a 2002 Mazda 323 or a Honda Jazz or a 2004 Barina or 1998 VW Golf. kind of cars are, all, by far the most prevalent on our

Peter Cusack’s Your London Sounds — a indeed — also a few traffic noises (”16th up, London roar from the top of a block, Holloway Road, on a evening”; ”Taxis waiting at Station, squeaky black brakes”; ”Under the flyover, Wick”). But they’re by far in the minority. a listen to the archive ; see also and Chicago .) Removing cars enable the other sounds to be out more clearly, also urban difference, in that tend to be a somewhat homogeneous force — due to their production costs, they are the same across the world; the for a VW Golf not only services the but the Skoda Octavia, Seat and Audi A3 .

Other sounds are global in provenance of course, but more sounds are local. how Cusack picks this out in his on his Favourite Beijing project:

“So does the city sound The answer is that it’s Central Beijing has an astounding Its shear (sic) scale you immediately and its variety constantly

This may not last. The older traditional sounds are fast as newer, more globally ones take their Peak traffic is already at volume.

But at the moment the old and new co-exist. the loud and brash, there are places of the utmost quiet, a breath of air touching a dead will catch your Elsewhere people talk, hum and loudly, not minding who listens. live and recorded, plays

It is a city of sound loops. loud hailers blast out slogans that endlessly in or out of sync with music the shop next door. fitted with bamboo create eerie chords your head when fly.

Buses screech, assistants yell and clap hands, taximeters talk and sizzle. Street cries are And in the parks older people revolutionary songs in choirs strong, while others in caged-bird singing contests, dance or practice t’ai [Favourite Beijing, Peter ]

Toyotas are largely the same in city; pigeon whistles are Yet rather than position as old (local) versus new (global), it may be the ‘electric car as noise generator’ above provides an opportunity to new local sounds .

Scoring the is an interesting idea, whether via car-based sounds or taking of the absence of car-based sounds. urban places already their own signature, through behaviour, a point made by H. Whyte in his 1980 book Life of Small Urban . when he and his team rendered the of movement through the plaza at s in New York as a form of graph.

He that this could be as music of sorts:

Since the s chart looked so like a roll, I wondered what the would be if all the dots and dashes be played. A composer friend was with the right tonal he said, the roll could be and it would be music. I hope one day it be: A Day in the Life of the North Front at Seagram s, Adagio . [from H. Whyte s Social Life of Urban Places . Note: I thought of opening up a music app and this. Haven t done it yet if someone wants to do that, to pages 70-71 in Whyte and go for

The opportunity to genuinely explore the of the city without this of private cars is compelling, through sculpting sound active intervention or simply enjoying a level aural field for the everyday sounds already conjure the city.

At glance, taking The Economist to for suffering from a severe of creative imagination might a little like admonishing Ronaldo for not spending his Sundays Žižek. But let’s at least how sound and the city should intersect given the emergence of new mode. We can slowly fade the volume on that wall of — what might we to hear its stead?

What beneath? What might we on streets without the sound of engines? An old man and his battered stereo, distorted easy listening to the (Bondi Junction, Sydney, May

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