UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


Acoustics and soundscapes

Our research is about how sound propagates in urban areas, in buildings, and in rooms; how people perceive and evaluate different kinds of sounds; and how sounds can be controlled, designed, and engineered.

Hi-fi speakers
Our research group covers environmental acoustics, building acoustics, room acoustics, and soundscapes. It is about how sound propagates in urban areas, in buildings, and in rooms; how people perceive and evaluate different kinds of sounds; and how sounds can be controlled, designed, and engineered. Rooted in the science of sound, research in Acoustics and Soundscapes is interdisciplinary, relating to architecture, urban planning, landscape, environmental science, civil engineering, transport engineering, environmental psychology, and sociology.   

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Research areas

Urban soundscapes and environmental acoustics 

Urban Soundscapes and Environmental Acoustics
This research theme covers the soundscapes of public spaces and how people perceive outdoor acoustic environments in context. It deals also with general environmental acoustics, and sound propagation outdoor. It encompasses social and behavioural aspects related to environmental sounds, such as noise complaints, perceived safety, environmental justice.

Noise mapping and soundscape modelling

Noise mapping and Soundscape Modelling
This research theme covers anything related to techniques for measuring, analysing, and mapping sounds-related components (either objective or subjective); it deals with prediction models for soundscape perception, the use of machine learning and neural networks in noise and soundscape studies.

Building acoustics, room acoustics and indoor soundscapes

Building Acoustics, Room Acoustics and Indoor soundscapes
This research theme deals with the acoustics of confined spaces, semi-public buildings (e.g., offices, museums, transport hubs, hospitals, etc.) and how buildings elements interact with the broader urban context from the acoustics perspective (e.g., canyon effects, façade treatment, etc.). This area of research is also trying to develop new theoretical model to redefine acoustic comfort in buildings.

Research projects

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Acoustics & Soundscapes in teaching

The Acoustics & Soundscapes MSc is embedded in our teaching at the UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering. Researchers from our theme contribute to the teaching of our MSc programmes and supervise dissertations for students who wish to undertake their own research in the area of acoustics & soundscapes. Examples of past dissertation topics include:

  • 'Effects of COVID-19 pandemic driven lockdowns on urban soundscapes'
  • 'The relevance between the sound sources and the mood of passer-by in various types of open environments'
  • 'Comparison of machine learning algorithms for predictive modeling of Soundscape Pleasantness and Eventfulness'

Health, Wellbeing and Sustainable Buildings MSc

University Health
Health, Wellbeing and Sustainable Buildings MSc is a ground-breaking programme to meet the growing demand for specialists to drive the health and wellbeing agenda in the design, assessment, retrofit and operation of sustainable buildings.

Modules relevant to acoustics and soundscapes:

Environmental Design and Engineering MSc

Bloomberg HQ in London - One of the world's highest BREEAM-rated major office buildings designed by Foster + Partners
Environmental Design and Engineering MSc meets the urgent need for more sustainable, efficient and healthier buildings, by training a new generation of experts to apply rigorous thinking and an innovative approach to environmental design and engineering.

Modules relevant to acoustics and soundscapes:


Smart Buildings and Digital Engineering MSc


Smart Buildings and Digital Engineering MSc explores how digital engineering can create smarter buildings that are better for their occupants and the environment. 

Modules relevant to acoustics and soundscapes:

Engineering & Architectural Design MEng

Engineering and Architectural Design MEng Student working with materials
Engineering and Architectural Design MEng has been designed in close collaboration with industry leaders, to combine the major disciplines of architecture and engineering of the built environment and prepare graduates to be future industry leaders. The programme is run jointly with the Bartlett School of Architecture and the UCL Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering.

Modules relevant to acoustics and soundscapes:


Doctoral Research (PhD)

Our doctoral researchers cover a broad range of topics in the broader context of our UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering vision and themes, looking at factors related to both the physical environment and people. 

Doctoral research relating to Acoustics & Soundscapes

  • Xiaochao Chen – 'Relationship between soundscapes and social integration' 
  • Mercede Erfanian – 'The psychophysiological correlates of the soundscape'
  • Hatice Kurukose – 'Positive soundscapes in school environments' 
  • Mithuna Maran – 'Flexible modular elements for acoustic reverberation and diffusion' 
  • Andrew Mitchell – 'Statistical modelling of complex urban soundscapes: conceptual developments, tools, and applications' 
  • Huan Tong – 'Urban planning and public health: a sound environment perspective with a data-driven approach' 
  • Chunyang Xu – 'VR-based soundscape evaluation auralising the sound from hearing, propagation to sources in the acoustic environment' 
  • Xiaoduo Xu – 'Exploring the impact of musical tempos on the human duration of stay through interactive design in museum display space'
  • Tingting Yang – 'Acoustics of sequential spaces' 


Dr Francesco Aletta 
Research Associate

Andrew Mitchell 
Research Fellow

Xiaochao Chen  

Dr Tin Oberman 
Research Fellow

Mercede Erfanian 

Huan Tong 

Prof Jian Kang 

Chunyang Xu 

Hatice Kurukose 
Post Graduate Teaching Assistant

Xiaoduo Xu 

Mithuna Maran 

Tingting Yang