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      Negative Responses to Urban Residential Noise as a Social Rebound Effect of Increasing Population Density: Legislative Challenges and Auditory Territoriality

      1 , 2
      Noise & Health
      Wolters Kluwer - Medknow
      Urban density, residential noise, auditory territoriality, social rebound effects

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          Populations in cities are projected to increase globally, densifying urban residential environments with both positive and negative effects. Positive social effects are offset by negative health effects however; urban residential noise has been identified in a large number of studies as a significant contributor to social unrest as well as a risk to physiological and psychological health caused by stress, making this topic highly relevant to the discussion on sustainability urban growth. Focusing on the psychological rebound effect of urban residential noise, this paper attempts to explain how and why auditory aspects of the spatial environment negatively influences urban residents. To provide context and to indicate areas in need of improvement, the legislative challenges to be faced are considered, with Sweden as a prime example of a first world country grappling with the effects of increased urban density. Existing building legislation regarding residential noise is considered in relation to studies investigating the effects of residential noise on psychological and physiological health, outlining areas in need of future development. Then, health responses to residential noise are placed in a broader evolutionary context by considering how these effects might be the result of triggered evolutionary mechanisms for keeping population size optimal. Further, the spatial dimension of hearing is discussed with reference to theories of territoriality in environmental psychology and the concept of auditory territoriality is described.

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          Most cited references51

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          City living and urban upbringing affect neural social stress processing in humans.

          More than half of the world's population now lives in cities, making the creation of a healthy urban environment a major policy priority. Cities have both health risks and benefits, but mental health is negatively affected: mood and anxiety disorders are more prevalent in city dwellers and the incidence of schizophrenia is strongly increased in people born and raised in cities. Although these findings have been widely attributed to the urban social environment, the neural processes that could mediate such associations are unknown. Here we show, using functional magnetic resonance imaging in three independent experiments, that urban upbringing and city living have dissociable impacts on social evaluative stress processing in humans. Current city living was associated with increased amygdala activity, whereas urban upbringing affected the perigenual anterior cingulate cortex, a key region for regulation of amygdala activity, negative affect and stress. These findings were regionally and behaviourally specific, as no other brain structures were affected and no urbanicity effect was seen during control experiments invoking cognitive processing without stress. Our results identify distinct neural mechanisms for an established environmental risk factor, link the urban environment for the first time to social stress processing, suggest that brain regions differ in vulnerability to this risk factor across the lifespan, and indicate that experimental interrogation of epidemiological associations is a promising strategy in social neuroscience.
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            Aircraft and road traffic noise and children's cognition and health: a cross-national study.

            Exposure to environmental stressors can impair children's health and their cognitive development. The effects of air pollution, lead, and chemicals have been studied, but there has been less emphasis on the effects of noise. Our aim, therefore, was to assess the effect of exposure to aircraft and road traffic noise on cognitive performance and health in children. We did a cross-national, cross-sectional study in which we assessed 2844 of 3207 children aged 9-10 years who were attending 89 schools of 77 approached in the Netherlands, 27 in Spain, and 30 in the UK located in local authority areas around three major airports. We selected children by extent of exposure to external aircraft and road traffic noise at school as predicted from noise contour maps, modelling, and on-site measurements, and matched schools within countries for socioeconomic status. We measured cognitive and health outcomes with standardised tests and questionnaires administered in the classroom. We also used a questionnaire to obtain information from parents about socioeconomic status, their education, and ethnic origin. We identified linear exposure-effect associations between exposure to chronic aircraft noise and impairment of reading comprehension (p=0.0097) and recognition memory (p=0.0141), and a non-linear association with annoyance (p<0.0001) maintained after adjustment for mother's education, socioeconomic status, longstanding illness, and extent of classroom insulation against noise. Exposure to road traffic noise was linearly associated with increases in episodic memory (conceptual recall: p=0.0066; information recall: p=0.0489), but also with annoyance (p=0.0047). Neither aircraft noise nor traffic noise affected sustained attention, self-reported health, or overall mental health. Our findings indicate that a chronic environmental stressor-aircraft noise-could impair cognitive development in children, specifically reading comprehension. Schools exposed to high levels of aircraft noise are not healthy educational environments.
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              Community Structure, Population Control, and Competition


                Author and article information

                Noise Health
                Noise Health
                Noise & Health
                Wolters Kluwer - Medknow (India )
                Jan-Mar 2021
                22 March 2021
                : 23
                : 108
                : 35-41
                [1 ]Environmental Psychology, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, University of Gävle, Sweden
                [2 ]School of Arts, University of Pretoria, South Africa
                Author notes
                Address for correspondence: Douglas MacCutcheon. E-mail: Douglas.MacCutcheon@ 123456hig.se
                Copyright: © 2021 Noise & Health

                This is an open access journal, and articles are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 License, which allows others to remix, tweak, and build upon the work non-commercially, as long as appropriate credit is given and the new creations are licensed under the identical terms.

                Original Article

                urban density,residential noise,auditory territoriality,social rebound effects


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