Right to Quiet Society Noiseletter
Spring 2007 - page 5

Need for information on noise control in real estate info

By Craig Daniels

I have twice tried to interest the authors of books like "Places Rated" and the people who operate Century 21's system of rating communities, to include comparisons based on noise ordinances and enforcement. I drew some interest, but nothing has come of my efforts.

Now, with the information that the US Census has estimated that 4.5 million people want to relocate on account of neighbour- hood noise problems (from the NoiseOff web site), together with statistics on numerous cohorts of retiring "baby boomers" looking for new homes and communities, I think it's time to try again.

I have so far written to Frommer's Guides (via their web site), Places Rated, Century-21 and Sperling's Best Places.


Mr. David Savageau
c/o Places Rated Partnership
P.O. Box 1327
Gloucester, MA 01931

Century 21 Real Estate LLC
World Headquarters
1 Campus Drive
Parsippany, New Jersey 07054

Sperling's Best Places
PO Box 82937
Portland, Oregon 97282


Again: The idea is to create significant competition between municipalities, existing retirement communities, and ones that are being planned—not by "red lining" residential communities which don't care, but by making the demand for and the success of noise controlled communities newsworthy.

Sample letter:

Dear Century 21:

The 2000 US Census estimated that 4.5 million people were seeking to relocate on account of noise problems. Twelve million more were troubled by noise in their neighbourhoods. With the "baby boomers" about to start looking for retirement homes, maybe it's time to start including information on noise ordinances and effective enforcement in your virtual tour / ratings system.

It might be that the best options are within retirement community developments, such as the one my wife and I are hoping to retire into this year (Shore Pines Village in Coos Bay, Oregon). Hopefully we have picked a good place.

Editor's note: To address this matter in Canada as well, we suggest writing to major Canadian real estate businesses like Royal LePage, Century 21, Sutton Group and Re/Max and demand better information.

It is equally important to lobby for better sound-proofing provisions in our building codes for the construction of residential multi-unit housing.

Consideration of noise in sustainable design

Our member R. Schiedermayer wrote a letter to the editor of PE magazine, put out by the National Society of Professional Engineers in the USA. Following is a quote from that letter as it was published in the March 2007 issue:

" A socially responsible engineer who engages in sustainable design must consider noise. Our society's current unsustainable state includes the outdated attitude that noise is a necessary by-product of a modern society. The fact that environmental noise levels have steadily increased over the 20th century shows that we can't continue to ignore noise as a factor in design and projects."


The letter had been in response to several recent articles in PE magazine, including the growing trend of several Universities to teach sustainable design.

Mrs. Schiedermayer's recommendation was that all engineering students and practising engineers be exposed to the basic understandings about noise control and use that information to design sustainable systems. Hopefully the letter will induce some engineers and engineering educators to consider noise as another pollutant when designing products and executing projects. Good design could go a long way to prevent or limit problems with noise.

World Urban Forum

In June 2006 The Vancouver Sun published an article about the UN Habitat Report on the State of Cities. Amongst the media reports on this forum that we saw and heard, noise was never mentioned once as a contributing factor to make "urban life hell for untold millions" (headline of that article by Don Cayo).
Reportedly, about 156 million South Asians, 75 million Africans and 49 million Latin Americans live 4 or more in one room, which increases the likelihood of both disease and domestic violence. It is more than likely that when people live in such conditions they have little or no privacy and are exposed to stressful, irritating noise, all of which can lead to aggressive, violent behaviour or depression.

Entire contents © 2007 Right to Quiet Society. Cartoon © 1996 Right to Quiet Society
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