Based on the loudness of different soundscape elements perceived on site, soundscapes were analysed in a multi-functional urban area in Rostock, Germany. The aim was to examine how urban soundscape composition changes spatiotemporally at different levels over a relatively large scale, and how soundscape perception is related to the underlying landscape. The results show that although anthropogenic sounds (anthrophony) dominated urban soundscape both spatially and temporally, certain biological sounds (biophony) and geophysical sounds (geophony), especially bird song, also played a significant role. Urban soundscapes showed diverse spatiotemporal patterns. Spatial variation of urban soundscape patterns was explained by underlying landscape characteristics, while temporal variation was mainly driven by urban activities, among which human activities were the major component. It is demonstrated that the thematic soundscape mapping techniques developed in this study is an effective tool. Landscape composition and configuration indicators could affect soundscape perception significantly, among which normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI) and landscape shape index (LSI) are the two most important predictors. The results highlight the importance of introducing more natural sounds into urban environments to achieve "noise control" through an ecological urban/landscape planning process. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.
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