Soundscapes, Communities and Place Attachment in Urban Space: a study on the soundmarks of divided Nicosia and their effects
The careful examination and evaluation of the soundmarks in a soundscape through observation and thorough listening is able to provide listeners and researchers with precious information about characteristics of the acoustic community that lives in the area. This doctoral study wishes to explore the procedures that relate place attachment to sound in urban space, and the ways the soundscape is evoked within a specific cultural context, using the theory of Sonic Effects within the field of Acoustic Communication: this field stresses that such study on sound should be carried out based on the interaction between the sound source and the way the listener relates to sounds, always depending on the environmental and cultural context this information exchange takes place. The city of Nicosia in Cyprus is divided since 1974, and the habitants of its centre mostly belong to the Greek-cypriot or the Turkish-cypriot community. Specific soundmarks being produced by rich-in-context sources on both sides are present in the area’s sonic environment and travel across the city’s borders, signifying an acoustic community with unique characteristics. The research project also wishes to investigate these characteristics by a) pointing out the soundmarks of the urban space of the borderline of Nicosia’s city centre and b) stressing the most representative and rich-in-content out of them. Then, it is willing to examine any other kind of acoustic information that is included in the soundscape, analyze all the observed sonic effects in relation to their qualities and finally assess the relationships between these and place attachment. The overall aim of the current research is to investigate the sense of place attachment through the soundmarks as far as the Greek-cypriot and Turkish-cypriot communities are concerned, using the sound ethnography as a main methodological tool. Parallel to this, the study wishes to study how soundscapes acquire meaning by the habitants, separately in each community, and how these meanings overall influence the habitants’ bond with their place.