UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


Silenzi in Scotland is Exploring Soundscapes of Scottish Highlands

21 December 2022

UCL researchers work to understand how soundscapes in national parks are perceived, in order to help their preservation

Image of the Scottish Dolomites in the Highlands

Silenzi in Scotland is an UCL Global Engagement funded project bringing the Silenzi in Quota initiative from the Dolomites (IT) to the Scottish Highlands. It builds upon a recent “citizen science investigation” of soundscapes in the UK National Parks led by the UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering and Silenzi in Quota, a campaign conducted by researchers at EURAC Research. We want to understand how soundscapes in national parks are perceived and by characterising them in detail using subjective data and acoustic measurements, we hope to find out how that knowledge can be used to preserve and manage them.

The research of soundscapes in areas of outstanding natural beauty, such as regional and national parks, is underdeveloped in Europe and its impact on human perception is not being sufficiently investigated. We believe that the currently available questionnaire tools are insufficient to characterise soundscape in a way that would be meaningful for planning and protection of environmental sounds in such areas as they were developed on urban case sites which imply “urban context and urban expectations”. Soundscapes in natural parks hold a huge potential impacting human wellbeing, tourist experience, ecosystems, and the local communities.

The team consists of Dr Tin Oberman (UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering) and Dr Simone Torresin (Dr Simone Torresin (Eurac Research - Institute for Renewable Energy, UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering). The project is supported by UCL Global Engagement Fund and UK Acoustics Network Plus. Dr Simone Torresin noted:

A new project that takes place in an enchanting visual landscape setting, where the sound component still must be adequately understood, measured and protected." ... “Silenzi in Scotland”, through soundwalk practice and multimedia outputs, has strong public engagement and outreach components. We hope to raise tourists’ awareness of their role as both sound sources and listeners in vulnerable natural ecosystems.


Image credit: Visit Scotland (by permission) / Silenzi in Quota (by permission) / Tin Oberman