Urban sound is one of the main concerns of architects and urban planners in contemporary cities: how to control it, what to do about noise pollution, where silent areas should be situated, or which urban decisions must be made. These questions, among others, are based on spatial sound. Virtual reality is a powerful technology that can serve as a design tool to find some answers to these questions. Due to its power to generate realistic images of the environments that are studied, it is easy to see that virtual reality could contribute to the visualization and auralization of spaces before their construction. This task is one of architects’ responsibilities, and such a tool could be very useful to them. This chapter highlights the principles and some applications of virtual reality in urban sound design.
Part of the book: Artificial Intelligence
Audio representation is critical for immersive virtual environments. This article presents a quasi-experiment based on architecture students evaluating the immersive impact of 3D audio in the representation of urban environments. In the framework of acoustic urban heritage preservation, a set of city squares with varying acoustic features were used as case studies in a two-step process: an objective analysis of the acoustic properties of these spaces; and the users’ subjective perceptions of the virtual environment of the squares. The study shows that we can gain a better understanding of the objective parameters through the subjective views of users. Acoustic heritage can be assessed subjectively using an immersive system such as virtual reality, in which audio representation is a key factor.
Part of the book: From Natural to Artificial Intelligence