In Barcelona residents living around Plaza del Sol, a popular square told authorities they were experiencing noise at all hours of the night. With the aid of sensors placed on their balconies they were able to record night-time noise at 100 decibels which are “far higher than World Health Organization recommendations”. With that information the residents were able to go to their city council with data, insisting that council rethink the uses of their popular plaza for nocturnal party makers.
As reported by the BBC, the residents were participating in an European Union project “Making Sense” that using the smart city philosophy gave data back to the citizens.
Through “personal digital manufacturing” residents that had experienced high noise levels for twenty years with associated businesses that encouraged late night activities were able to show the acoustical detrimental impacts.
The acoustical monitors used by the residents were made in Barcelona’s fabrication laboratory, which allows new designs and ideas to be tested using “cutting-edge” tools. Designs are shared online “so that something built in Boston can be replicated in a lab in Shenzhen”.
The sensors designed by Barcelona’s fabrication library also detected air pollution, humidity and temperature as well as noise. After the residents presented their acoustical data to city hall, the square was emptied of people at 11:00 p.m. by police, and garbage trucks that usually arrived in the early hours to clean up the square were rescheduled to work in the morning. The square has become a place not only for late night party goers, but also for the people who live there.
You can take a look at what the Plaza del Sol in Barcelona looks like in this short YouTube video below.