We were in three cafés in the city, measuring noise levels and comparing them with people’s perceptions. The work involved taking measurements (in decibels) for a day in each café and surveys of customers’ perceptions of noise. The goal was to connect the objective measurement of noise with what people thought in each place.
In summary, we found the following:
- People felt comfortable in these cafés despite identifying significant noise. The average noise level in the three cafés was 5.74 (out of 10) while the level of comfort was marked as 7.46 on the same scale.
- People did notice noise, recognizing its origin or cause but when they went to score it, they did not give it much consideration, that is to say it did not affect their decision-making.
- The most important sources of noise in two of the cafés came from the street (car honking, traffic, street sounds).
- There is no direct relationship between the average measured noise level, perceived noise and perceived comfort in the cafés.
- Therefore, we should not solely consider the decibel level at a given moment when thinking about nuisance or noise at a given location.
The complete report of the study can be found here with the presentation of the study below.
If you are interested in broadening this study or doing others like it, please contact us.
Thank you to the cafés and their staff for letting us to do this study.
Mauricio and Álvaro Vásquez of Café Pasaje
Laura Bernal of Café Pop
Alcira Rodriguez of Café Illy Virrey
Additional thanks go to José Pacheco, environmental engineer who we consulted on methodology and protocol for the fieldwork, Alvaro Caviedes who did a literature review of noise studies and to Angelica Espinosa and David Quintero who did a lot of the fieldwork in the cafés and were responsable for collecting the data that made this study possible.