Frequently Asked Questions  

DC Harmony One-Pager

DC Harmony Three-Page Explainer

Fact Sheet: The "Amplified Noise Amendment Act of 2021" is Inadequate to Protect Public Health


Fact Sheet: The "Harmonious Living Amendment Act of 2021” Does Not Address the Immediate Issue of Excessive Volume in Public Spaces


Additional Resources

“Is Noise Pollution the Next Big Public-Health Crisis?,” The New Yorker, May 13, 2019
“Research shows that loud sound can have a significant impact on human health, as well as doing devastating damage to ecosystems.

“Sounds in the city: differences in urban noise management strategies across cities,” Trudeau, Christopher & Steele, Daniel & Dumoulin, Romain & Guastavino, Catherine, McGill University, School of Information Studies,
3661 Peel St., Montréal QC H3A 1X1, 2018
“Cities around the world use different noise management strategies stemming from various histories and needs for control of the urban sound environment. Noise regulations from 42 cities from around the world, chosen through purposive sampling, have been analyzed systematically for various elements of control.”

“Why We Need to Reduce Noise Levels in Cities,” www.planetizen, January 25, 2018
“The hustle and bustle of cities are part of the appeal, but too much noise is unhealthy. Planners can help control the problem of noise in the city.”

“What Is a Safe Noise Level for the Public?,” Fink, Daniel J., MBA, American Journal of Public Health, 2017 January, 107(1): 44–45, (
“Eighty-five decibels is not a safe noise exposure level for the public.”


Other cities have successfully addressed excessive sound levels through a variety of approaches. For example:

Cambridge, MA.
Requires a permit and generally, the sound level may not exceed 80 decibels measured at a distance of 25 feet. For drums, the sound is limited to a distance of 150 feet. Cambridge, MA Street Performer Ordinance 

Chicago, IL.
Street performers must obtain a permit and avoid generating any sound louder than an average conversational level at a distance of 100 feet. It is a separate violation at a distance of 200 feet. Street performers also have to get a license to play that must be renewed every two years.

New Orleans, LA.
The sound level of the music may not exceed 80 decibels from 50 feet away. Guide to New Orleans Street Performance 

New York City, NY.
Regulates street performer volume by requiring permits for sound producing devices and limiting areas where performances may take place. A Guide for Street Performers NYC 

Portland, OR.
Noise Control Act regulates sound plainly audible at 100 feet in any direction (including vertical).

San Francisco, CA.
Areas of the city require a permit to perform, and performances are time-limited. San Francisco prohibits operation of a radio or television receiving set, musical instrument, phonograph, jukebox, broadcasting equipment or other machine or device if louder than necessary and further prohibits sounds audible beyond 50 feet from the property line between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. Port of San Francisco Street Performer Program

2021 DC Harmony Coalition