"Re-modernitzar la ciutat"

Sleeping, washing, studying, preparing food, putting things away, resting after work: the atoms of activity in functionalist diagrams were supposed to reform the outdated design of human dwellings and meet objective and universal needs. But if the rationalist manuals contained the stylized outlines of a "standard" family, the varied population of contemporary "city users" should be probably represented by the colorful icons of the Sims.
Contemporary housing projects carry in their genetic code many of the results of functionalist research into mass housing; but its main ideological bases - egalitarianism and standardization - have been dropped along the way.
In recent housing design competitions, complicated infographics accompany program-based residential structures, apparently adaptable to increasingly idiosyncratic lifestyles. But the extreme "democratization" of housing proposals for the contemporary metropolis is dangerously resonating with the parallel obsession with originality and personalization that marks a consumption-driven society.
Hopefully, the structure of the existing city - produced by people with different goals and different means from ours - is still able to adapt in time to our changing needs. Today a new awareness of how urban structures survive individual destinies can lay the foundations for a new ethic of city planning and design. It has been demonstrated that a dweller of the inner city consumes at least three times less gasoline and half of the electrical power of one of the periphery, and that the most obsolete urban apartment is much more energy-efficent than the "greenest" suburban house. All Europe is reevaluating the positive side of density, and is trying to integrate in the new urban design schemes the mixité and the vitality offered by the historical fabric with the environmental awareness of our contemporary culture. If last century has been marked by the expansion of the city, this one is already confronting itself with the theme or regeneration. Dismissed infrastructures or obsolete industrial areas offer themselves as open research fields, able to create new and unexpected connections between existing parts. In these interventions, urban housing has become a fundamental issue, and an instruments of creating an environment lived-in at all hours.