This study of the social, cultural and spatial transformations that took place in the last three decades in the centre of Thessaloniki, aims to examine the modes of spatialisation of the social life and the symbolic meaning of the new places which have been created.The city core has changed both perceptually and structurally. Although it has always been characterised by its mufti- functionality, (housing, commerce, entertainment, offices, administration, etc) the intensity of these functions varied thoughout these years and new types of social life have emerged. Three phases of this process can be distinguished:a) The decade of the '60's was characterised by a diffusion of social life and operational functions. There was a predominance of housing, followed by commerce, offices and recreation places (cinemas, coffee shops, patisseries, restaurants, etc.) Everything and everyone was to be found in the centre: shopping, walking, going to the movies, meeting friends in a coffee shop, or patisserie, watching people go by, visiting friends who lived in the centre, or visiting offices and other services. All these activities which were diffused in the centre gave it its unique character of dense social life during day and night.b) The decade of the '70's is characterised by a tendency for decentralisation. The predominance of commerce and offices, instead of housing, led to a mono-dimentional use of space and the degradation of social life. Cinemas, places of late night or day contacts and their special clientele disappeared. This transformation limited the social life during day and night, in favour of the operational functions of the centreC) The third phase (1980-90) is characterised by a tendency to upgrade and revitalise the city core. There is a dispersion of new nuclei (places of gathering) which begin to appear in a variety of selected places. As the main streets are overloaded with traffic and commerce, secondary roads, pedestrian streets and squares become new poles of attraction. Old buildings are restored and given a different use. Depending on their position, they either turn into shops, or recreation places. Also, areas near the centre, le the harbour and wholesales docks, where less public social life took place (prostitution, notorious bars, hotels etc) have received new uses in parallel with the old and have become popular poles of attraction. The same can be mentioned about places further away from the centre in the industrial area, or elsewhere, where old factories have been restored and transformed into recreational and cultural centres. Each of these transformations has a strong symbolic character which will be discussed. Most of them reveal a nostalgia for rhe past, for the old forgotten places and buildings. It should be mentioned that throughout these years vast reconstruction replaced old buildings, doubled the density of the centre and transformed the cityscape. The few old buildings that remained are the only reminders of the past. We may assume that this nostalgia is related to a search for identity On the other hand all these transformations reveal a search for a vital urban characteristic which has tended to disappear: The search for urban sociability.