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Sonorous Landscapes: Using sound and urban design methods to capture and communicate biodiversity in an urban forest

Lancaster University

Sonorous Landscapes will design and test new methods that capture, interpret, and communicate sound to create accessible and intuitive temporal archives of unfolding bioacoustic events. Integrating sound with changing light and temperature data over extended periods, it will deliver groundbreaking means for measuring and experiencing biodiversity over time, particularly in the context of urban reforestation and rewilding initiatives.

In partnership with the Digital Urban Forest initiative in Slough, UK, Sonorous Landscapes will address the challenge of engaging urban communities in biodiversity conservation by using creative methods, unattended environmental sensors, and creative engagement tools. By uncovering citizen values and leveraging real-time information, it will foster engagement and stewardship, promote education and discourse regarding urban biodiversity, and support urban design and policy in the green transition agenda. 

The research aims to increase stewardship of urban ecologies and embrace the societal changes that are urgently needed to address the climate crisis. Steve and Louise Handley will facilitate the project through their expertise, site access, and community liaison.

Steve and Louise Handley (LH) are landscape and urban designers. They have a pioneering vision for urban forestry and the beneficial role of urban nature on health, wellbeing, and education. They have undertaken many projects that successfully deliver these benefits.

Project team

Academic Supervisor: Nick Dunn

Research Associate: Rupert Griffiths

Non-Academic Partner: Sough Borough Council

Nick Dunn

Nick Dunn is Professor of Urban Design and Executive Director of Imagination, the design and architecture research lab at Lancaster University. He is the Founding Director of the Dark Design Lab,

Rupert Griffiths

Rupert Griffiths is a senior research associate at Imagination, the design research lab at Lancaster University. He is a cultural geographer with a background in architecture, urbanism, and