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Calming the Streets of Lancaster With Music

Birds chirp through downtown Lancaster, as water laps gently in the background and a soft piano melody encompasses the area.

But the birds aren’t real, and neither is the water. Even the piano music is computer-generated.

In fact, all the noises are coming from the same place-small, indiscreet green speakers that line the main street of downtown Lancaster known as The BLVD.

It might sound like another generic background track, but each of the three components has a specific goal designed to decrease the listeners’ stress, and along with it, crime rates, said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris.

The piano beat is half the speed of the human heart, which has a calming effect. The birds are supposed to evoke a feeling of security, since apparently birds used only to chirp when predators weren’t around. The water is supposed to add to both the security and the calmness.

In six months, Parris said he hopes to see an increase in sales and a decrease in traffic counts and aggressive crimes, especially the latter.

Parris came up with the idea as a result of his interest in cognitive science, and contributed a few thousand dollars of his own to develop the soundscape for downtown Lancaster, he said.

“I’m absolutely convinced that because of cognitive science, we have the ability to solve most social problems in society today,” Parris said.

The only problem Parris can see is that since it’s outside, the wind and other natural elements might interfere with the water and birds people are supposed to hear.

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March 22, 2011 Posted by | BIRD SOUNDS, BLVD pianos, Lancaster blvd, Lancaster Mayor, r rex parris | , , , , | Leave a comment