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Polipheries: Heterotopic Cities and Plural Communities of a Different Present in Southern Europe


In Europe, cities have always been theatres that put utopian thinking on the stage. The European city is a “mediation between mediations”, to quote Henri Lefebvre, one of the most lucid philosophers of the city, since the city is a permanent interface for several types of relationships: relationships between individuals, structured and unstructured relationships, and relationships with and between social, institutional, and normative organisations. And in an increasingly urban world where most of the world’s population lives in cities, with levels close to 80% in Europe, cities are the living organisms that breath the breath of change, especially the change in the relationships, visions, and responsibilities needed to reactivate the future we want. However, contemporary cities are also the places where inequalities and marginalities are emerging with ever greater virulence, triggering real epidemics that arise from the peripheral areas that are the most lacking in quality and equity, extending to the entire urban organism, and mining the cooperative status that is the basis of the birth of the city. The answer can not be a generic anti-urban sentiment, but it should be a more aware and responsible claim for the respect of the “right to the city”, which is not only a guarantee of essential services, but a right to work, participation, safety, reception, cohesion, welfare. It is a right to the future.