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No More Noise Complaints? TenderNoise Measures City Noise Pollution

What if before you move into a new place and sign that expensive lease you could find out how noisy your new neighborhood is going to be at various times of day? TenderNoise is an applied acoustic ecology project in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco that measures the area’s sound decibels and gives estimations of when noise levels are at their loudest, and where it’s coming from: music, heavy trucks, raised human voices, SFPD sirens or construction. It could even forewarn you that your adorable, potential neighbor’s apartment doubles as a German Bass club at night.

TenderNoise was developed by esteemed design studio Stamen, building consultancy Arup, and data mapping company Movity, so it’s got a pretty legit pedigree. To compile data for this project, they stationed thirteen decibel readers at several major intersections in the Tenderloin to gather all of the sound information. So potential Tenderloin tenants, who were formerly at the mercy of their realtor or landlord’s good word on how “peaceful and quiet” any given block might be, can now simply check the TenderNoise map to see if the area is right for them.

While TenderNoise lets you avoid city noises, a web app on the opposite coast embraces the cacophany. You Are Listening To mixes city sounds like NYPD radio streams with synthy tones to create music from each city—the result is modern symphonies of major cities like: L.A., New York, San Francisco and Montreal.

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