rethinking cities, the importance of silence in the public domain
Public Silence started from a personal interest towards the presence of silence in our daily lives. When living everyday life in a big city, finding silence can be quite challenging. Even though there are plenty of spaces that have lower levels of noise such as wellness centres, libraries, churches and museums, these are all part of the interior sphere. The main issue is life on the streets. When people are occupying public spaces, noises are constant and inevitable. So how does this influence our health?
We were astonished to discover that diseases caused by noise pollution are the second most prevalent after those caused by air pollution. In Western Europe alone almost 1 million healthy life years are lost each year as a result of traffic-related noise Noise is a serious problem and with the increasing population in cities it will become even more concerning.
We believe cities in the future might need the presence of quiet spaces in addition to people’s private homes. Easy accessible public spaces of `silence’ that are available to everyone, which are not necessarily related to nature or social isolation, but are rather connected to people’s daily lives and routes in modern cities, could be valuable additions to busy urban environments.
This research was funded by The Creative Industry Fund. It aimed at finding the noisiest spot in the city of Rotterdam in order to insert an informative installation in the urban fabric of the city in which people can experience silence in an urban space. The intention of the project is attracting people’s curiosity using the element of silence by giving them a platform for reflection regarding the issue of noise.