Each urban realm is singular and specific.

High density and/or high rise developments, sprawl and diffusion, gentrifications and historical centers transformations, gated communities and bidonvilles, ghettos, favelas, new towns and substitutions of urban districts: all these occur in our metropolis.

All that considered, a practical category, to read and compare the urban transformations and morphologies, might be the consideration of the purpose which moves the change.

On one hand, there are practices and morphologies bond to the exploitation of the real estate, based on the profit, on the return on capital, on an affluent life-style and rising and often driven needs.

We will speak of “urban profit”.

On the other hand, there are practices and morphologies bond to survival and hope, also due to massive migratory processes, based on the expectation of freedom and a better future.

We will speak of “urban not-for-profit”.

Both the modalities occur in rich and poor nations, in more or less liberalistic economies, in more or less democratic societies, in dense or diffuse morphologies.

Density, land uses, morphologies, mobility, public health, public space, resources, energy, water supply, security: these are the variables which connote and structure the urban morphologies, in their indissoluble bond with society and economy.

Purposes and problems (which these urban morphologies led to) vary, anyway, from sustainability to inclusion/exclusion, from attractiveness to the relationship tolerance/conflict.

The metropolis, as system of places which guarantee both anonymity (that means security) and the preservation of historical and local values (that means identity), may assure the profitable and prolific encounter between present and absent people, in their nature of hosts, passed away or descendants.

Otherwise the metropolis may prevent it towards barbarism.

The question is how the urban, profit or not-for-profit, might assure life and exchange and remove destruction and seclusion.

Experimentations, researches, reflections and testimonies will shed light on the forms of urban profit and not-for-profit, regarding emblematic cases such as New York, London, Mexico City, Milan, Sao Paulo, Moscow, Dehli and Shangai.

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