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This Frontier award supports the SONYC project, a smart cities initiative focused on developing a cyber-physical system (CPS) for the monitoring, analysis and mitigation of urban noise pollution. Noise pollution is one of the topmost quality of life issues for urban residents in the U.S. with proven effects on health, Education, the economy, and the environment. Yet, most cities lack the resources for continuously monitoring noise and understanding the contribution of individual sources, the tools to analyze patterns of noise pollution at city-scale, and the means to empower city agencies to take effective, data-driven action for noise mitigation. The SONYC project advances novel technological and socio-technical solutions that help address these needs. SONYC includes a distributed network of both sensors and people for large-scale noise monitoring. The sensors use low-cost, low-power technology, and cutting-edge machine listening techniques, to produce calibrated acoustic measurements and recognizing individual sound sources in real time. Citizen science methods are used to help urban residents connect to city agencies and each other, understand their noise footprint, and facilitate reporting and self-regulation. Crucially, SONYC utilizes big data solutions to analyze, retrieve and visualize information from sensors and citizens, creating a comprehensive acoustic model of the city that can be used to identify significant patterns of noise pollution. This data can in turn be used to drive the strategic application of noise code enforcement by city agencies, in a way that optimally reduces noise pollution. The entire system, integrating cyber, physical and social infrastructure, forms a closed loop of continuous sensing, analysis and actuation on the environment. SONYC is an interdisciplinary collaboration between researchers at New York University and Ohio State University. It provides multiple educational opportunities to students at all levels, including an outreach initiative for K-12 STEM education. The project uses New York City as its focal point, involving partnerships with the city's Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the business improvement district of Lower Manhattan, and ARUP, one of the world's leaders in environmental acoustics. SONYC is an innovative and high-impact application of cyber-physical systems to the realm of smart cities, and potentially a catalyst for new CPS research at the intersection of engineering, data science and the social sciences. It provides a blueprint for the mitigation of noise pollution that can be applied to cities in the US and abroad, potentially affecting the quality of life of millions of people.

Project URL:

Geographic Scope: New York City

Project Status: Active - not recruiting volunteers

Participation Tasks: Annotation, Audio or video recording, Classification or tagging, Data analysis, Download software for distributed computing projects,

Start Date: 2016-08-01

Project Contact:

Federal Government Sponsor:

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Other Federal Government Sponsor:

Fields of Science: Computers and technology, Ecology and environment

Intended Outcomes: Research development, Civic and community,