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Noise: A Summary

One of the effects of urbanisation is an increasing number of people choosing to live in the inner city, particularly in high density neighbourhoods. Re-zoning has allowed many residential areas to become mixed use zones whereby apartment high rises, houses and restaurant strips exist all on the same street. In Victoria, these zones are often centred around transport hubs, nearby either tram lines or train stations. All these elements make the hustle and bustle of the city, but one might argue it’s getting a little too noisy. External noise has become a modern day pollutant that is difficult to escape, and has captured our attention.

In our Healthy Environments report, we recommended buying property that is not located on a main road or nearby train stations to avoid high levels of external noise while at home. Noise can have detrimental health effects such as cardiovascular disease, even if you think you’ve become accustomed to the low grumblings of traffic and passing trains.

We recently discovered that, in addition to poor health outcomes, external noise can negatively impact the value of property. These are some of our findings.

  • Houses located on a noisy street in inner Melbourne are worth 7% less than the average house on a quiet street.
  • Properties directly opposite a train line might have good accessibility but they are approximately 6% lower in value than those located a street back from a train line.
  • Noise can impact how you feel at home. Studies have suggested that impulsive noise such as loud chatter from your neighbours or pedestrians is more annoying than constant traffic noise.
  • Noise can affect you physiologically. Published statistics prove a connection between noise (such as railway and road traffic) and cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment and tinnitus.
  • Even low frequency sound waves that you cannot hear can still be felt by the body and cause damage to the inner ear.

Out of all the senses, hearing is probably the most overlooked when it comes to creating spaces. In order to house the rapidly growing population in modern cities, without sacrificing quality of life, there is a greater need to control the increasing sources of noise and the design of spaces that contain them.


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