Soundscapes – a different way to map

Wythenshawe Waste Warrior have a mapping project which supports the National Curriculum’s “World Around Us”, Geography and Maths, across all levels of study. 

Soundscapes provide a different way to map the area. The inclusion of these to the mapping project supports National Curriculum areas of music and the use of I.C.T. 

It is our aim to map the green spaces with the the schools to introduce younger generations to spaces their families may not be aware of, in hope that this knowledge ripples through the community. We are also working with local groups and businesses, to establish a stronger, holistic approach in caring for our environment.

Soundscapes involve the acoustic environment as perceived by humans, in context.

In our daily lives we rarely encounter one sound in isolation; usually there are multiple sounds firing off all around us. The entirety of the sound in any one location is a soundscape. 

The term was originally coined by Michael Southworth and popularised by R. Murray Schafer.

Digitised Mapping Logo

His concept of a soundscape was essentially an auditory landscape, almost exclusively applied to outdoor locations, and has been used by a thriving aural ecology movement ever since in their campaign against encroaching urban noise and their passionate efforts to record disappearing soundscapes.

There’s a varied history of the use of soundscape depending on discipline, ranging from urban design to wildlife ecology to computer science, it is even used within the health sector.

There are important differences between them in how they chose to separate soundscape from the broader acoustic environment.

The acoustic environment is the combination of all the acoustic resources, natural and artificial, within a given area as modified by the environment.
A soundscape is sculpted by sounds that form or arise in an immersive environment.

​The idea of soundscape refers to both the natural acoustic environment, consisting of natural sounds, inclusive of animal vocalizations, the collective habitat expression of which is referred to as the biophony,
and, the sounds of weather and other natural elements referred to as the geophony;
additionally, environmental sounds created by humans, the anthropophagy through a sub-set called controlled sounds, such as musical composition, sound design, and language, work, and sounds of mechanical origin resulting from use of industrial technology.

The disruption of these acoustic environments results in noise pollution.

Image curtsey of M.Comar 2020
Image curtsey of M.Comar 2020

Our affiliated artist M.Comar worked with soundscapes during her B.A course (2019 -20) and combined sounds from the area with 3 videos, building into an immersive installation piece. 

The sounds she sculpted together reflect the sounds of Wythenshawe and a large part of what disappeared during March – May 2020, with the Covid-19 Lockdown.

With the following, she aims to show how schools, families and other residents can map their area in an audio manner. You can use your phones to make the sound recordings, dicta-phones or any sound recording device

If you are interested in contributing to the audio mapping project please use the contact form and mark it “Sounds” before your message, thank you.

Natural sounds



Sounds of the weather and natural elements


Human sounds



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Page layout designed M. Comar; our affiliated Digital Grounds Keeper.

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