The Growing Threat of Urbanisation

room 1 ECHOES


I was inspired to create this piece by observing the changing sounds on my travels into the city for university. As I travel closer and closer, the sounds begin to change. The atmosphere is different. It’s not instant. And it's not noticeable to the average person. Sydney’s City is 236 years old. 171 years older than my town. So instead of looking at my regular commute into the city as travelling through space. Instead, I viewed it as travelling through time.

Using this commute to view how sound transforms in this way opened my eyes to this growing threat of urban development. I hope to portray this to you in this short walk and to show you how threatening the speed of this normalised urban development is. And it's something that most don't understand until they drive past their childhood home and see it replaced with an 8-story high rise. Is my town only 50 years away from no longer hearing the birds? The times of hearing the waterfalls are already long gone. Could your town be 20 years away from no longer hearing the trees in the breeze?

Some of us have such a love for the city’s soundscape that we forget that it comes at a cost. And with the rate of this metropolitan expansion, in 171 years will my town be just as dull of natural life as Sydney city? How far off is your town?

The Growing Threat of Urbanisation

This town started just like yours. A haven of lush greenery and blooming of natural life. This place where the trees confidently stood tall and strong, their branches heavy in foliage dancing in nature's breeze. The birds sang from dawn until dusk and the crickets from dusk until dawn. The rush of the flowing streams and waterfalls served as a soothing backdrop to everyday life. These sounds that once defined this slice of land are now, a piece of history and a mere memory, of a former era.

As you walk through town today, you might only catch the distant calls of the birds and the gentle rustle of the branches of a lone tree. Remnants of what once was, and faint memories holding onto the landscape consuming its new identity. The rivers are dry. And trains now rush through the ‘valleys’ of the train station. The breeze doesn't flow through the leaves on the trees instead now the concrete canyons, accompanying the constant hum of traffic.

The first signs of what was to come were subtle. The occasional wind chime tinkling with the natural environment was harmonious at first. But now it is a bittersweet reflection… the beginning of the end of something beautiful. This is when the sense of unease began. The first sign of change, and a hint that this town's harmony with nature was beginning to shift. Most call it the way of life, but I know it as the genocide happening under our noses.

When the construction begins, the swaying trees disappear with it. You can hear the cries of the earth being churned up by heavy machinery, where lush meadow once stood in peace. What used to be quiet sheep trails are now rivers of asphalt carrying motor vehicles from place to place. The wind chimes that once seemed so charming now feel like a prelude to the racket now gradually taking over the town.

Buildings line up along the street, casting shadows that give the soil no chance of living its dream again. The greenery has been pushed to its fringes, small parks and carefully manicured lawns are a mockery of what the soil once resembled. You can't hear the birds chirping over the humans blabbering, and you can't hear their singing over the blaring car horns and diesel engines. The harmony between man and nature has been lost and replaced with a battle for land. The wind chimes that were once a gorgeous addition to the soundscape, are now known as a sign of war. The war that this slice of land lost.

As you reach the end of your walk, you can't help but wonder what the future holds for this town. Will it continue to expand, its concrete jungle growing ever larger? Or is there a chance to reclaim some of the natural beauty that has been lost? The soundscape you've just experienced is a journey through time, a reminder that the choices we make today will shape the world of tomorrow. It's up to us to decide whether we want to preserve the echoes of nature or let them fade away entirely.

Jonah Stanley
Jonah Stanley
Student at UTS



The Echoes

Echo Audio file

New Collection

Discover more geolocated content in our apps.


Or start creating tours, treasure hunts, POI maps... Just let your imagination guide you.


Are you a creator?


Privacy & cookie policy / Terms and conditions

© ECHOES. All rights reserved / ECHOES.XYZ Limited is a company registered in England and Wales, Registered office at Merston Common Cottage, Merston, Chichester, West Sussex, PO20 1BE

v2.4.4 © ECHOES. All rights reserved.