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Soundscapes in Arab Cities: A Systematic Review and Research Agenda

Tallal Abdel Karim Bouzir1,*, Djihed Berkouk2,3, Theodore S. Eisenman4, Dietrich Schwela5, Nader Azab2, Mohammed M. Gomma2,6, Samiha Boucherit7

1 Institute of Architecture and Urban Planning, Blida University, Blida, 09000, Algeria
2 Hekma School of Engineering, Computing and Design, Department of Architecture, Dar Al-Hekma University, Jeddah, 22246, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
3 Department of Architecture, Biskra University, Biskra, 07000, Algeria
4 Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, USA
5 University of York, Environment Department, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), York, UK
6 Department of Architectural Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Aswan University, Aswan, 81542, Egypt
7 Department of Architecture and Industrial Design, Università degli Studi della Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”, Aversa, CE, 81031, Italy

* Corresponding Author: Tallal Abdel Karim Bouzir. Email: email

(This article belongs to this Special Issue: Soundscape Perspectives and Noise Pollution Challenges: A Multidisciplinary Approach Towards Sustainable Environmental Solutions)

Sound & Vibration 2024, 58, 1-24.


In the context of Arab cities, this study explores the intricate interplay between cultural, historical, and environmental elements that shape their unique soundscapes. The paper aims to shed light on this underrepresented field of study by employing a three-fold research approach: systematic review, a comprehensive literature review, and the formulation of a future research agenda. The first part of the investigation focuses on research productivity in the Arab world regarding soundscape studies. An analysis of publication trends reveals that soundscape research in Arab cities is still an emerging area of interest. Critical gaps in the existing body of literature are identified, highlighting the importance of addressing these gaps within the broader context of global soundscape research. The second part of the study delves into the distinctive features that inform the soundscapes of Arab cities. These features are categorized into three overarching groups: (i) cultural and religious life, (ii) daily life, and (iii) heritage and history, by exploring these factors, the study aims to elucidate the multifaceted nature of Arab urban soundscapes. From the resonating calls to prayer and the vibrant ambiance of traditional cafes to the bustling markets and architectural characteristics, each factor contributes to the auditory tapestry that defines Arab cities. The paper concludes with a forward-looking research agenda, proposing sixteen key questions organized into descriptive and comparative categories. These questions emphasize the need for a more profound understanding of sound perception, sources, and the impact of urban morphology on the soundscape. Additionally, they highlight the need for interdisciplinary research, involving fields such as urban planning, architecture, psychology, sociology, and cultural studies to unravel the complexity of Arab urban soundscapes.


Cite This Article

Bouzir T.A.K., Berkouk, D., Eisenman, T. S., Schwela, D., Azab, N. et al. (2024). Soundscapes in Arab Cities: A Systematic Review and Research Agenda. Sound & Vibration, 58(1), 1–24.

cc This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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