Assessing the influence of environmental context on responses to noise exposure in the City of Toronto
thesisposted on 22.05.2021, 10:09 by Desislava Stefanova
This thesis examines individual and community noise perception of environmental noise in three neighbourhoods in the city of Toronto. The significance of this research is based on a relative absence of literature on how noise sensitivity and annoyance are affected by non-acoustic factors such as the built environment, demographic, and socioeconomic factors. Data from a neighbourhood noise survey (n=552) were combined with spatial data on exposures to noise. Bivariate analysis, multivariate regression, and classification and regression tree (CART) analysis were used. The results showed that participants in Downtown and Don Valley have similar noise responses (64% and 67% high annoyance) despite differences in noise exposure (LAeq 24h: 66.8 and 59.3). Estimation of Community Tolerance Levels (CTL) confirmed that participants exposed to lower sound levels have a lower tolerance of noise. Further results showed that a neighbourhood with high socioeconomic status and access to green space, and relatively low night time noise levels were still two times more likely to report high annoyance, compared with neighbourhood with moderate socio-economic status and lower access to green space. The results suggest that environmental context influences expectations and sensitivity to noise.