The article discusses how the sonic environment both reflects and shapes the atmosphere of vulnerable urban areas. It aims to investigate the potential of critical listening as a tool for attuning and exploring everyday public feelings, and it seeks to engage collaborative sound-art practice as a relevant means for empowering local communities and implementing urban policy analysis and design within vulnerable areas.

The focus is to show how an action-research practice oriented to sonic investigation can uncover unprecedented perspectives on the relationship between vulnerable neighborhoods, power hierarchies, social inequalities, and gender issues. The contribution provides the outcomes of a case study developed in Palermo at “Quartiere San Giovanni e Paolo”, where the author was involved in a public art process as researcher and sound artist, and developed a participatory project named “voci fuori campo”. 

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photo credits Nicola Di Croce