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Built Environment ; 48(2):244-263, 2022.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-2022234


The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how people relate to and use outdoor spaces, particularly in densely populated areas. We investigate the transformations that took place during the 2020 lockdown and the fi rst post-lockdown summer, with an emphasis on changes to the sound environment, in the context of a mixed-use central neighbourhood in Montreal (Plateau-Mont-Royal), Canada. Semi-structured interviews with thirteen residents, conducted in autumn 2020, showed how restrictions on the use of indoor spaces, including a ban on indoor gatherings, coupled with the transformation of home environments into work, study, and relaxation spaces drove Montreal residents to engage more with outdoor public spaces in their neighbourhoods. This resulted in extended uses in terms of area, activities, duration of stay and even time of use, and in new uses for activities once restricted to indoor spaces (e.g. family meals, celebrations). Sound played a critical role in these public space transformations, as the diversity of uses and activities brought back the sounds of human activity and even encouraged a sense of ‘normality’: a safe and shared form of coming together that had been lost following the COVID-19 lockdown. The study highlighted the diverse, extended roles that (outdoor) public spaces can play in everyday urban life, beyond just providing access to quiet and the sonic consequences of this use in reinforcing previously paused forms of public life. Furthermore, intentional forms of transformations of spaces, like pedestrianizations, off er fl exible amenities, impromptu musical performances and organized socializing space and fulfi lled roles previously satisfi ed by third places and eff ectively became temporary ‘fourth places’. These fi ndings provide grounds for reimagining the future of public spaces – not only in urban practice but also in the social imaginary, especially in relation to temporary interventions and programming, as well as promoting positive sound outcomes in public spaces © 2022. Built Environment.All Rights Reserved

Journal of Environmental Planning and Management ; 2022.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-1972851


In 2020, the pandemic impacted the social and economic dynamics of cities around the world. Entertainment districts hosting events, festivals, and other cultural activities were particularly affected, as their loss of attractiveness also impacted their livability. Reflecting on how the experience of the sonic environment contributes to attractiveness and livability in an urban environment, we propose a sonic perspective to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Montreal’s entertainment district–Quartier des Spectacles (QDS). Through semi-structured interviews, we focus on how the sonic experience of QDS’s residents changed throughout 2020, and on how their experiences can provide valuable insight into addressing the district’s future planning and management. Looking at QDS as a case study to orient the post-pandemic trajectories of entertainment districts, we present a number of sound-related governance recommendations aimed at strengthening QDS residents’ involvement in the neighborhood’s cultural, artistic, and political life and its decision-making processes. © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.