After the initial excitement of entering the school year is exhausted, students and faculty look for locations surrounding campus to, “Get away from it all.” The trip to Tech Square revealed the last half of the block as a location to dispose of burdens.
This spot, just outside of Ray’s, provides all of the soundscape’s relaxing qualities (described later in the post).
However, undesirable noises within the soundscape still exist. Thus, those within the area cannot fully unwind. “How do you solve this issue?” you may be asking. Put simply, the answer is continuous sound originating from bushes.
Before further elaboration on the soundscape, it must be made clear why relaxation is the assumed task. Both students and unknown city goers were found leisurely walking down the sidewalk, with some sitting down at other benches for extended periods of time. Lack of urgency was also exemplified in most observations taking place in the middle of the hour from 10 – 11 am, a time when very few classes/businesses are opening.
Now onto the subject of the half block’s soundscape, and how it can be improved with the proposed interface. Signal sounds of low amplitude and pleasing tonality included mellow music playing, birds chirping, and, most interestingly, leaves rustling. However, being next to a road, attention is ultimately drawn to cars being driven on the adjacent road. While most that did traveled slow, with low amplitude and pitch, a bus, or motorcycle would enter the roadway at sparse moments, and break the aura of relaxation. The idea of the “burbling bush” then comes to the forefront. This involves planting bushes, and equipping them with a small device, providing a sound similar to that of the antecedent leaf rustling. By reinforcing the strength of the desired sound, the prominence of the vehicular sounds is detracted. Also, the desired sound is similar to that of waves crashing, which can subliminally implant the impression of being on a beach vacation in one’s mind. However, the bush should not emit a sound too prominent as consciously perceiving the sound of a beach at an urban block would present a consistency problem. This is also why human speech should not be incorporated within the device. The abnormality of a “talking” bush would certainly create an anxious, not relaxed, feeling in the individual.