The Sounds of Cities


Reading — Intermediate Level
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The cities of the world are shaped by different noises. Each has its characteristic sound, which is not always pleasant. Many cities are increasingly struggling with noise contamination, which has been shown to have significant negative consequences for health, safety, and general quality of life. Since the world is becoming increasingly urbanized, smart solutions are required to battle noise.

From east to west and north to south, the world's cities' soundtracks are as individual as their inhabitants. While the trams pass by in Lisbon, in London, the tube roars through the city underground. New Jersey is more influenced by traffic noise than New York, where human voices, in particular, contribute to the urban sound. When we visit old cities like Rome or Madrid, the voices are accompanied by music.

A few years ago, a group of researchers created a map for 12 cities in the US and Europe to show which noises make up the places' sound and which emotions they evoke. Chatty maps allow an acoustic stroll through London, Washington, or Barcelona, among others. Each street can be clicked on individually and is provided with data. On the Rambla in Barcelona, for example, traffic noise and noise from buildings only make up around 20 percent. More than 30 percent of noise is human (voices), almost 27 percent natural sounds, and about 23 percent music. Music is said to arouse trust, joy, and excitement. However, on Canal Bank Drive in Chicago, fear, anger, and sadness predominate, and 99 percent of noise is traffic.
  1. The noise in the city is generally   .

  2. Living in a noisy place can   one's quality of life.

  3. The tube, as referred to in the article, is the   in London.

  4. It can be understood in the second paragraph that   .

  5. The Rambla's musical noise gives off   .


Practice your writing skills by discussing the questions below

  1. Do you live in the city? If yes, is it a noisy one?

  2. What cause/s noise in the city?

  3. Why is noise not healthy?


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