In the press and on social media there is a debate every day about pollution caused by gases from cars or industry, but there are other types of pollution, acoustic and light pollution, which also cause physical and emotional disorders. And not just us. Numerous species of amphibians, birds, fish, and other animals are threatened by the light and noise of the cities. Silence has more and more value in this busy lot in which we live, that’s why Taiwan has just opened the world’s first quiet urban park.
Taiwan is an overcrowded island of 22 million people, with a large technology industry and a hectic pace of life. As in many large cities, that is why the organization Quiet Park International emerged, which is dedicated to offering guidelines for designing quiet parks, and grant them an official rating.
There are already more than a dozen quiet parks in the world, but they are all in rural areas or far from cities. As our colleague Andrea Núñez-Torrón Stock tells us at TICbeat, the Yangmingshan National Park, Taiwan, has become the world’s first quiet urban park, being located next to the capital Taipei.
Noise is as prohibited in Yangmingshan National Park as it is in a library. It is not that speaking is prohibited, but visitors are asked not to speak, and if they do, to speak quietly. The average noise rate in the park is around 45 decibels, the equivalent of quiet conversation. According to Ulf Bohman, CEO of Quiet Park International, in an urban environment it is impossible to approach zero decibels, so 45 decibels is considered the lowest noise level in a quiet urban park, similar to the one in a library.
But to receive the rating of Parque Tranquilo, noise is not only taken into account. Other aspects that help people relax and reduce stress are also valued., as the little presence of human constructions, and the existence of animals that generate the ambient sound.
In Yangmingshan National Park you can hear the wind in the trees, the noise of birds and frogs, the water of rivers and ponds, and also some endangered animals, such as the blue magpie, endemic to this area.
In this first quiet urban park the silence is so present that it is even possible to hear the movement of the ducks as they swim in the river.
Quiet Parks International hopes to certify until 50 more quiet parks in the next decade, in such iconic places as New York, London, Stockholm and Portland.[[Source: Conde Nast Traveler]