First you decide who’s going to live there and what kinds of sounds they would like to live with. The Japanese soundscape association decided to ask people to nominate the 100 most beautiful soundscapes in Japan. Thousands and thousands of people replied. They said, the way the waves hit a particular shell from a sea creature on a particular beach—it sounds very different from pebbles and sand, it’s a unique sound.
The people from the association would then go and hear the sound and if they agreed, they would put it on the 100 most beautiful soundscapes in Japan. And so those places are protected. They’re like heritage sites. If you wanted to put a cement factory next to one, you probably would have a great deal of difficulty. They’re protecting the environment by using sound creatively—and consulting people. Pass it back to the people. I don’t think people want a lot of noise. I think they’re frightened to complain and say they would like it to be a bit quieter.
soundcloud example: http://soundcloud.com/felixbadanimal/bell-of-zenko-ji
Acoustic Ecology Institute
The Web site of this New Mexico-based nonprofit offers a comprehensive look at the latest news and research from the world of acoustic ecology (including an updated list of Web sites that use sounds in interesting ways).
Soundscape: The Journal of Acoustic Ecology
The professional journal of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology, Soundscape offers thoughtful, intellectual takes on everything from ocean acoustics to audio technology to the importance of silence. http://interact.uoregon.edu/medialit/wfae/journal/