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White Sound: Urban Seascape

The crashing sound of waves, enveloped Euston Road, masking the sound of vehicles with the sound of the sea. In many parts of the world it’s not just the sound of the sea that is invading our space. Global warming is causing sea levels to rise, swallowing and flooding low lying land and forcing people from their homes.

http://www.wellcomecollection.org/press/press-releases/white-sound-an-urban-seascape.aspx

This project was conceived and designed by SRvDI Hub and launched on International car free day 2011, and ran between 22 September–16 October 2011. The project aimed to gain attention via the installation, create awareness via targeted communication, and drive behaviour change via signposting Green Camden initiatives.

As part of the Green Camden Campaign, Camden Council wanted to raise awareness of the impacts of vehicle traffic on the health and wellbeing of residents and visitors, as well as the wider environment. Road transport is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases in the UK, accounting for around 25% of the total emissions (DEFRA 2005) that contribute to climate change. Euston Road (the location of the Wellcome Trust Building) is one of the busiest roads in the UK, where pollution levels are at risk of exceeding EU limits.

Camden Council working with the Socially Responsive Design and Innovation Hub at University of the Arts, London contacted Bill Fontana and the Wellcome Trust and invited them to help raise awareness of these issues, using art in context, to capture people’s attention. Bill Fontana’s work, by enabling us to experience (live) the sounds of waves coming ashore on the Dorset coast, in place of the sound of road traffic on the Euston Road, links the issues of traffic pollution, local health, rising sea levels and global warming.

The crashing sound of waves, enveloped Euston Road, masking the sound of vehicles with the sound of the sea. In many parts of the world it’s not just the sound of the sea that is invading our space. Global warming is causing sea levels to rise, swallowing and flooding low lying land and forcing people from their homes. Whilst rising sea levels are not an immediate problem in Euston Road, pollution from traffic is doing immediate harm there, adding to poor air quality which contributes to respiratory problems – particularly in vulnerable people with existing health problems that may be worsened by air pollution.