The City of Allentown is partnering with Cornell University and the Allentown Vision 203
0 Comprehensive and Economic Development Plan to study noise pollution in the city.
Director of Community and Economic Development Leonard Lightner announced the partnership at the Vision 2030
Community Collaboration Meeting on June 18.
Over the next three years, this Allentown-based, nationally funded project will study the noise pollution sources in the city and the negative effects that it has on quality of life. The effort will also encourage youth engagement and leadership in scientific research.
This noise pollution study is being led locally by John Annoni – a teacher with the Allentown School District for 30 years and a local community leader – in conjunction with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York.
The unique noise pollution study has two core goals: to change the way science is experienced by those in underserved communities, and to collect relevant data that improve the quality of life for both humans and birds in these same communities.
The study is being funded through the National Science Foundation and Allentown is part of a cohort of cities across the United States and Mexico that are conducting similar studies in their communities.
“Allentown Vision 2030 is honored to partner with Mr. Annoni, the community, and Cornell University on this exciting project that emphasizes collaboration, community empowerment, and strategic partnerships,” said Lightner. “Through their research, we expect to identify projects to reduce noise pollution and improve our city’s quality of life – all while bringing science and technology resources to our youth and neighborhoods.”
Allentown Vision 2030 – Your City, Your Voice! will be the city’s new Comprehensive and Economic Development Plan that will chart a path for inclusive, equitable growth over the next 10 years. The plan will address the topics of housing, workforce development, economic opportunity, social equity, environment and conservation, community development, transportation, land use, historic preservation, open space, and a range of other concerns that affect the quality of life and vibrancy of the City of Allentown. The noise pollution mitigation partnership is an early project of Allentown Vision 2030 and highlights the importance of action-oriented planning and collaboration to make the goals of Vision 2030 a reality. Learn more about Allentown Vision 2030 at www.AllentownVision2030.org
During the first year of the three-year noise pollution study, Mr. Annoni and his team of four “Community Science Collaborators” – all hailing from Allentown’s neighborhoods – will be conducting community surveys and conversations and utilizing an innovative research technique called PhotoVoice in which participants answer research questions using photography from their community. That information will be used to develop a special app that records and measures neighborhood sound levels. The app, to be developed at the Cornell University Lab utilizing community input, will even allow the user to indicate how they are affected by the level of noise.
“The project will have an impact far beyond our own students,” said Mr. Annoni. “We want to change the health and knowledge of the entire community here and beyond. It’s an honor to be trusted to help oversee this initiative as a teacher, leader, and community member.”
The first community conversation for the noise pollution study takes place from 6:00-7:00 tonight at the Allentown Vision 2030 Community Engagement Hub located at 33 N 6th Street in downtown Allentown. Community members are invited to come learn more about the study and meet Mr. Annoni and the team of “Community Science Collaborators” who will be conducting the study throughout Allentown’s neighborhoods.