top of page

Blog 3: 23 December 2022

The Pulse of Public Realm and the Active Village

7.85 Hertz beats continuously, the beat of the earth, its resonance. 

In May I posted a few notes on resonance.  It is fair to say it has captured my intrigue, its influence on our bodies, the relationships we have and the spaces we live, work and play.  I have been exploring its impact not only in literature but in my own journey.  Its importance in presence, physiological wellbeing and neurological health.  

As humans we can change the hertz of our bodies by listening to different music, connecting with different people and environments.  The resonance of space, the resonance of silence in nature, the resonance of vibrant healthy cities and of Active Villages form soundscapes.

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration” Steven Strogatz (2003).  So, when we consider the spaces we live, the environments we value and the places we build… How is resonance considered and articulated?  What hertz level is optimal for the space to be designed to and how does it fluctuate?  

Soundscapes identifies the collection of individual sounds in an environment with an underling complex web of sound sources, environments and filters (Grinfeder, Lorenzi, Haupert & Sueur, 2022). Pijanowski 2011 identify three categories: biophony; geophony; and anthrophony, emanating from a given landscape to create unique acoustical patterns.

The resonance curve (Anton Overbeck, 1885) shows that voltage excited at different frequencies and the peak due to resonant interaction.  The resonance curve is critical to structures and form, bridges exemplify this.  When the harmonics of a bridge are incongruent, they fail.   What harmonics creates a healthy, accessible and safe public space? 

Soundscapes consider not only human sounds but the resonant impact from weather to animals and plants.  A study found variation in weather patterns in cities based on the oscillation of harmonics.  Another in birds where both songs and contact calls of birds were at higher frequencies in urban environments than rural (Kaplan & Rogers 2013). 

In a study on the effects of signing bowl sound meditation on mood, tension and wellbeing conducted by Goldsby, Goldsby, McWalters and Mills (2016) participants reported significantly less tension, anger, fatigue and depressed mood.  There are many studies which outline the importance of relaxation in the bodies physiological response to counter the fight or flight response and activation of the parasympathetic nervous system.

Can we create public places which enable optimal resonance for harmonious living? Spaces that are stimulated by physical literacy and the the social, emotional, cognitive and physical connection to place. 

Healthy cities are rich vibrant places and spaces and as we have learnt not an economic algorithm of homogenous building types and urban sprawl.  What is the role of the harmonics of the resonance curve in creating healthy and well ecosystems in which we live work and play?  Nielsen, Jorensen & Braae's (2011) initial findings suggested that soundscape information may offer inspiration for rethinking compact city characteristics such as density and intensity, potentially stimulating cultural uniqueness and diversity and inspire ‘new typology thinking’.

Should the planning scheme go further than noise restrictions?  What should the harmonics of a place aim to resonate at?  Do we need diverse harmonics throughout the day, seasons, years which support the cycles of our planet? 

Does Earth's 7.83 Hz "Heartbeat" Influence Our Behaviour?

 “At the heart of the universe is a steady, insistent beat: the sound of cycles in sync. These feats of synchrony occur spontaneously, almost as if nature has an eerie yearning for order.” Telsa (1942)

Wishing everyone a wonderful harmonious festive season and 2023.


bottom of page