An initiation to revive the unique sound of Indonesian cities



As a large country with thousands of ethnic groups and cultures, it is hoped that every city in Indonesia will have its uniqueness. However, preliminary data collected from 10 major cities in Indonesia shows no uniqueness. The most visited public places in these cities, i.e. parks and squares, which are generally associated with natural sounds, are dominated by human and traffic noise. Surprisingly, a noisy acoustic environment is not considered a nuisance. The study reported here looks for reasons why people ignore the noise. An online questionnaire developed using a 5-point Likert scale was distributed to collect data due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Five hundred and ninety-five respondents participated in the survey. ANOVA and Kruskal Wallis test were run to identify differences between soundscape dimensions and differences in soundscape attribute ratings, respectively. The data shows that Indonesians visit public places for communal or social activities, which are triggered by the attractiveness of the places and the types of activities they can participate in. It is the reason why noise is not considered a nuisance. Pleasantness and eventfulness are the two dominant soundscape dimensions found in this study. In the Indonesian context, pleasure correlates with events. Eventfulness is associated with the number of people and their activities in public places. However, in most of the cities surveyed, eventfulness scores were low when they were unable to engage in the events held in public places. They visit public places based on the attractiveness of the place and the activities, and they feel comfortable in noisy public places when they can be involved in the activity. Once people become attached to communal activities in public places, the pleasantness dimension also exists. Thus, two things need to be considered to improve the acoustic environment of cities in Indonesia. First is by reducing traffic noise to increase the dimensions of eventfulness by using attractive attractions in public places. Second is to investigate the types of attractions that are of interest, if possible, is to restore local culture with its unique sound to build a unique city soundscape. In this study, participants identified the uniqueness of sounds in public places by using sounds that could not be classified as unique such as the voice of and the music played by street vendors.