Urban smell enthusiasts
Smell and the City is back in action after a summer break of writing on how to design with smell in cities (more on that to follow in the next few months). Some of the most exciting things I’ve been up was attending the 2nd International Congress of Ambiances at the Canadian Centre of Architecture (CCA) in Montreal and running a smellwalk with Studio X at the University of Columbia, New York. The Ambiances conference was organised by the International Ambiances Network and was attended by many of the key figures working and researching the topic of sensory urban environments. These included David Howes of the Centre for Sensory Studies at Concordia University, Montreal and Jean-Paul Thibaud of CRESSON, a research group at the National School of Architecture in Grenoble, France.
In Montreal I presented a paper on urban sound and smell expectation, written with soundscapes expert and sound environment designer Neil Bruce at the University of Salford and syncrosound. Copies of the paper will be accessible via the HAL Open Archive soon.
I also led a smellwalk of Montreal for conference participants, organised in conjunction with Natalie Bouchard of the University of Montreal. Copies of the smellwalk route that we followed can be downloaded here, starting at the CCA and travelling via subway to the Saint Laurent neighbourhood uptown. Following the walk, I created a perfume based on smell ingredients detected by participants on the walk (including wood, herbs, gourmand and green ingredients to name but a few) which I presented at the main conference dinner.
Following the congress, I went on to deliver a smellwalk and presentation in New York organised in collaboration with Studio X at the University of Columbia New York. A video of the presentation can be viewed on YouTube here. Copies of the New York smellwalking route can be downloaded here. The data collected in Montreal and New York will be used by the Smell and the City project to create an online World Smell-map currently under development, and you are all welcome to participate by tagging the smells you detect during your own DIY smellwalks when the site goes live. Further details of the map will follow on the smell and the city blog in the weeks to come.
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