Interplay between auditory and visual environments in historic districts : A big data approach based on social media

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1245-1265
Journal / PublicationEnvironment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science
Issue number4
Online published9 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022


Historic districts play a vital role in stimulating urban economic development, conserving regional culture, and enhancing public participation. Both auditory and visual environments, and the interplay between them, are critical to visitors’ perception and evaluation of historic districts. However, most studies have explored either the auditory or visual environments separately. The handful of existing studies on audiovisual interaction were confined to laboratory environments, leading to limited external validity. Here, we performed a data-driven study of the features of auditory and visual environments and the interaction between them in 17 historic towns in China using posts containing soundscape-related keywords and streetscape photos from a popular Chinese social media platform. First, we found that the auditory environments in historic districts mainly consist of man-made sounds from folkloric activities, the sounds of street shop vendors, and natural sounds from running water and birds. Second, street greenery, spatial enclosure, and presence of pedestrian in visual environment are positively associated with emotional feedback of the soundscape. This study and others support the importance of studying the auditory and visual environments of historic districts in conjunction. The innovative methods used in this study can be used in further studies in the field.

Research Area(s)

  • Audio–visual environments, auditory environments, historic districts, soundscape, visual environments

Citation Format(s)