Relationship between Urban Noise and the Health of Users of Public Spaces—A Case Study in Vitoria, ES, Brazil

Urban populations today are exposed to high levels of noise, which may cause discomfort and lead to health problems. Most of these noises are traffic-gen- erated; therefore, this study focuses on evaluating the soundscapes of urban open spaces to determine its importance for the health of the citizen, since such spaces can function as noise attenuators. The methodology of this study involved a literature review, computer simulations and interviews with users of the aforementioned open spaces. The case study was conducted in an urban area in the city of Vitória, state of Espírito Santo, Brazil. The results indicate that, in the period of this study, traffic noise dissipated through open spaces but noise levels still exceeded the maximum allowable levels established by regulations. Nevertheless, the population proved to be largely unaware of the noise. It should be pointed out that the areas under study are used predomi-nantly as recreational spaces for health and wellbeing activities. The findings of this study may serve to underpin urban planning policies that encourage the inclusion of open spaces, especially in areas of high urban density where the transport system consists of motor vehicles, in order to help control urban noise. 

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