Environment: SSSHHICAGO

This paronomasia is the title of a program designed to bring quiet to a city. It decorates a pamphlet that explains the plan and was recently circulated to the citizens of Chicago, where the city council this summer approved the toughest antinoise code in the U.S. In the eleven weeks since the code was adopted, Chicago's department of environmental control has become the municipal version of the Silent Service, enforcing the new rules with a vengeance.

The job is enormous and complicated. In the Loop, Chicago's downtown area, tall office buildings contain and amplify urban sounds like echo chambers so that...

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