Pietro Sammarco will present a talk on the history of noise regulation in Vancouver, followed by a response in the form of a performance by internationally-acclaimed “harsh noise” performer The Rita.
Vancouver’s urban noise by-law was written in 1938, a year after the Non-Partisan Association (NPA) first gained control of the city government. A typical Progressive Era party comprised of businessmen employing scientific management, the NPA led council over the next thirty years in seeking to abate urban noise as obstruction to productivity, and thereby facilitate Vancouver as a space for efficient economic exchange. Vancouver noise’s bylaw coordinated this effort, yet made no use of objective measuring devices for enforcement. It relied heavily on subjective definitions, and thus proved to be enforceable only through overtly political decisions. In the 1970s, with a dramatic change in local government and a distinct shift in ideology, the justification for noise abatement turned from hard-nosed economic growth toward production of the so-called “livable city.”
Pietro Sammarco is currently a graduate student in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University, combining the fields of soundscape composition and media education. His SSHRC-funded research explores the pedagogical opportunities encountered in the media production studio by focusing on the social meanings and material possibilities of “waste.” He records bands, does music and sound for film, and DJs karaoke. Sammarco is a former director of The Safe Amplification Site Society, a non-profit dedicated to music for people of all ages.