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Sounds of the City
Kowloon magnify

Hong Kong makes interesting use of sounds for communication. Street lights and crosswalks are all appointed with beeps and clicks to warn you when to and when not to cross. Although I have experienced this in cities in the US, the use of sound is more prominent in Hong Kong.


As we waited to board the Star Ferry from Kowloon to Wanchai, a series of beeps came over the PA system to alert passengers that it was time to board. No announcements were made…just the beeps. The same thing happened in the subway…no announcements like you hear on BART in San Francisco or MARTA in Atlanta or the subway in NYC…just beeps to alert passengers of a station stop.


The city noise sounds different, too. It’s not just the pitch and tone of Chinese chatter. Hong Kong sounds unique. What is it about sound that distinguishes one place from another?


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