Tsaligopoulos A., Kyvelou St.S., Karapostoli Aim., Bobolos N., Tsintzou Τη., Lekkas D.F. & Matsinos Y.G. (2023). Sound complexity as a strategy for livable and sustainable cities: The case of an urban waterfront. Noise Mapping, 10(1): 20220173.
Public spaces underwent a notable shift in their acoustic profile during the societal restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. A silver lining emerged from this global crisis, with noticeable improvements in public acoustic environments due to reduced noise levels resulting from restricted mobility. This research focuses on the acoustic environment of Thessaloniki’s waterfront, a Mediterranean metropolis in Northern Greece. Waterfronts of Mediterranean coastal cities provide unique acoustic environments worthy of protection from environmental noise. By analyzing sound level measurements and recordings during the 2021 lockdown and comparing them to the post-lockdown period in 2022, we aimed to explore environmental noise and acoustic complexity indicators. The study’s findings revealed a significant increase in acoustic complexity during the lockdown, underscoring an inverse relationship between noise levels and acoustic complexity. Urban waterfronts, like Thessaloniki’s, hold great potential for enhancing acoustic complexity and subsequently improving the acoustic quality of public spaces while protecting them from environmental noise. This research sheds light on the possible use of sound complexity as an environmental quality standard that can be incorporated in sustainable urban planning and design.