From many points of view, the European Union may be seen as a union of cities. According to a research published in June 2007 by the EU's Directorate General for Regional Policy, almost three quarters of the European population lives in urban areas. In 2020 the citizens, or the inhabitants of the cities, will be more than 80% of the total population.
In the large urban agglomerations the noise is perceived as one of the factors which mainly influence the life quality, together with the air and water pollution.
The European environmental noise directive (END) 2002/49/EC, was adopted with the goal to define a common approach to avoid, prevent and reduce the harmful effects of noise. To this end, it supplies indicators to be used to describe this phenomenon and it asks Member States to realize noise maps for the major sources of noise pollution.
In Italy, like in other European countries, the Directive is part of a regulatory framework already existent, where the State, through its laws, decrees has started to produce, almost 20 years ago, a system to define the limits, the indicators and the priority indexes for the noise rehabilitation and the sound recovery.
LIFE+ is a financial tool of the European Union created in 1992 in order to support the its environmental politics. LIFE+ with its co-financement, has the aim to incentive and promote projects which offer new solutions to environmental problems of the EC.
Among 39 projects which received co-financement the EU has selected in the call LIFE+ for the year 2008, the HUSH project proposal of the Municipality of Florence (Coordinator) ISPRA, University of Florence (Mechanics and Industrial Technologies Department), Vie En.Ro.Se. Engineering S.r.l. and ARPAT. The central theme of the project is the rehabilitation and improvement of the noise climate in the city of Florence.
The project, selected between over 600 proposals to the EU from public and private networks, through the Member States, has been considered among those proposals able to contribute to the development of innovative methods and techniques in the environment sector.
The project has a total value of € 1.827.154: the European Union funds amount to € 756.815,00, the remaining is covered by the partners.