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How does the city sound under lockdown?

Ear-openers for a just and healthy city

Slowdown Amsterdam

Amsterdam under lockdown suddenly sounded very different. How did the city residents experience this? On the 20th of March, Soundtrackcity placed a call to all Amsterdammers to write something about the effects of the new soundscape on their wellbeing, on their health, on their social life. Everywhere in the city people started listening and writing. From more than a hundred responses you will find here an enticing selection ear-openers, interspersed with sound recordings from corona time. Many recordings are 3D, use headphones for maximum effect.

To say that lockdown city was quieter is stating the obvious. Paradoxically, many people report that they just heard more sound. Not so strange actually, because the usual noise of air and road traffic fell away, so other sounds came to the fore. Voices, birds, footsteps, sounds of presence that people enjoyed very much. As traffic noise increases again, people wonder if we should go back to bussines as usual. Who has the right to disturb whole parts of the city or to keep them out of sleep? Motorcyclists? Schiphol Airport? KLM? How just is a city where residents have to keep their windows closed in order not to go crazy from the continuous traffic noise? Who is allowed to make noise and who isn’t? Who or what is allowed to be heard? Sound is not about noise or silence but about communication, and about power. Attentive listening to the city clearly exposes the distribution of power.

Based on the reactions, Soundtrackcity works on a podcast featuring people who speculate about what Amsterdam should sound like in the future. Listen to the sound of the corona city. Use this exceptional period as an ear-opener for a just and healthy city.

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Soundtrackcity Het huis van Amsterdam met dank aan: Gemeente Amsterdam West