Kensington Market Soundscape Study

Kensington Market Soundscape Study

Kensington Market Soundscape Study researchers Bernice Cheung (left), Dennis Lee (centre) and Wesley Brunson (right) all set to volunteer at the September 2022 PSK. Photo by Shelby Lee.

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Kensington Market Sound Study overview, Fall 2022
According to some Kensington Market business owners, live and recorded music are crucial to projecting an exciting, lively atmosphere needed to draw in customers. Yet some other Kensington Market community members resent loud or amplified music that seeps from businesses and the streets into their homes. Some community members are also resisting the Kensington Market Business Improvement Area‘s post-pandemic reintroduction of the Pedestrian Sundays street festival (“PSK,” in past years held monthly from May to Oct). In recent years, PSK has featured loud live music and drawn many noisy revellers to the neighbourhood. Some business owners understand PSK and/or amplified music as key to their economic health and recovery, while some community members experience loud music as negatively affecting their individual mental and physical health and contributing to a carnival-like atmosphere some find difficult to tolerate. Some community members also hope for more community-wide involvement in PSK programming.

Our research team employs qualitative research to better understand the complex interplay of desires, histories, and regulations, and to observe and aid the multiple parties in the community in finding means to manage the neighbourhood’s “soundscape” during and beyond PSK festival days. The project’s goal is to provide data, observations, and accounts to community members on all sides of the issue to collectively, equitably create a more mutually satisfactory soundscape for Kensington.  

Prof. Farzaneh Hemmasi volunteering at Pedestrian Sundays, May 2022. Photo by Shamez Amlani.

Research activities to date
Consulting with KMBIA and other community members about research goals, design, knowledge sharing
Participating in KMBIA Street Events Subcommittee Meetings (PSK production)
Participating in community events about sound/noise/music concerns
Supporting PSK producers in implementing festival
Observing and record sound-producing events on PSK days
Data sharing with KMBIA and community members
and more….

KMSS researchers Dennis Lee (left) and Nil Basdurak (right) take decibel readings at the May 2022 PSK. Photo by Esther Wade.

Project Timeline

• Summer 2020: Received Connaught Community Partnership Research Award to support project

•Winter 2021-22: KM sound/noise steering committee attendance;  Project development with KMBIA, residents, & others

•April 2022: Assembled research team

•May 2022: Began researching and volunteering at PSK

•June – August 2022: Research and volunteering

•Sept-Dec 2022: Interviews & surveys; research and volunteering

Project Contact
kensingtonsoundscapestudy [@] gmail [dot] com

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