TenderNoise – The visualization of noise

Noise complaints are the “No. 1 quality-of-life issue for New York residents”.

For the the past few months, we’ve interviewed home buyers, renters, and movers to identify the important factors when deciding on where to live.  We knew of the obvious ones, safety, commute, price, and social.  But in our initial brainstorm, we missed a pretty obvious factor… noise.

Interview after interview, movers expressed concern about the noise of freeways, cable cars, bars and restaurants, etc.

So at Movity.com, we decided to take on noise as a data set we would own.

At first, we explored different modeling avenues and complex software.  But we decided for the v1 to “streetview” it, collect the data ourselves, and get feedback based on data for one neighborhood… the Tenderloin.

The Setup


In the first test, we had a few recorders stolen (they are $200 a piece).  So we took precautions and on each recorder, clearly stating, “Device is being tracked by the SFPD”.

The Hangings

In a partnership with Arup and Stamen Design, we contributed and worked on the noise project for the CityCentered Festival. We hung decibel readers at major intersections in the Tenderloin and gather data over a weekend and weekday.

After being questions by the police three times, and harassed by local business owners, bums, and the occasional drug dealer, we gathered decibel readings at 13 intersections, resulting in 1.6 million data points. Our v.1 of the visualization at Tendernoise.Movity.com.  Sha literally built this in 1.5 days.

Our Vision

Moving into a bad area can greatly affect one’s quality of life. Our goal at Movity is to give home buyers and renters the data and content they want before making a such a large financial commitment. We hope a clear understanding of noise is one of those data points.

From this initial data set, we can draw quite a few conclusions on how much noise is generated from bars, munis, cable cars, fire trucks, and people hanging out.  We’ll share our findings soon.

Up Next for Us

1.  Improvements to make the data consumable, comparable, and rankable.  Ie, answer the questions: which intersections are the loudest, what times is it the loudest, how does this compare to other neighborhoods in the city, how does this affect the quality of life?

2.  Gather data in the rest of the city.

3.  Build out a sustainable process for recollecting data and ensuring accuracy and granularity.

We just started and need feedback!  Do you care about noise?  How would you want it visualized?  What other factors influence your next home?  Please email me at eric@movity.com.





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