20 October 2017

Place-Sound: Using Evolution to Crowd-Source the Sounds of Places

Research Synopsis

People associate places – such as their home or workplace – with particular sounds, however, it is difficult for academics to investigate the link between the two due to the complexity of sound.

Existing strategies to explore sounds typically involve listening to long recordings, gathering information subjectively or using frequency analysis. However, computer scientists at Stirling, in partnership with academics from Aberdeen and Edinburgh Universities, have now developed a tool that uses feedback from large groups of people to identify sounds commonly associated with particular places.

Four sites across Stirling and Aberdeen – comprising each campus and both city centres – are the focus of the project. The sounds will be analysed to discover how they develop over time, sound collections reflecting each place will be produced and participants – who will hear sounds for the sites via a web page a few times over a three-month period – will have their mood tracked.

The team has already collected more than 16,000 sounds from the four areas and hope the next stage, involving public participation, will produce interesting results. A programme using artificial intelligence techniques will analyse the responses and ultimately produce the sound collections.

The project is funded by a grant from Scottish Crucible / Royal Society of Edinburgh.


Research Team


Project Website

Crowd Sound