Body, shape, memory: these are the guiding categories in the images we build of our cities. However, the metaphor of the body - so fertile in the 19th and early 20th century to describe the growth and diseases of the city - can no longer be applied in the same way, for the spatial transformations that affect most European cities today, cannot be grasped as simple phenomenons of growth or decline. Peripheral areas are flourishing while inner city neighbourhoods are neglected, boundaries between city and countryside are blurred, spatial experiences become more vague and indifferent. Thus it is increasingly difficult to 'read' the city as a living organism, as a body with a clear shape, as a palpable structure providing the material substratum for the collective memory. The question is this: when the urban body is desintegrating, its shape is being erased and its capacity for remembrance is diminished, what clues are left for constructing the identity of a city? Marshall Berman states that the experience of modernity is based on the feeling that 'all that is solid melts into air'. This means that every identity is subject to change and transformation: identities are r.ot fixed or stable, not permanent or reliable. Within a modern conditi:n identity is not some given, rnonocharacteristic substance: it has rather to do with a process of transformation, going through stages of negation, of destruction, of construction. When everything is thorn into pieces, identity can be found in the continuous trying to build with these piece's a new entity. An identity of this kind is flexible, adjustable and manifold, containing contradictions and complexities. Identity understood in these terms is related to processes of mimesis. Mimesis as a philosophical concept refers to a gesture of creative imitation: one has to do with a mimetical manifestation, when mimicking is not limited to simple reproduction, but leads to the emergence of something new - something which in resembling the mimicked unity also reveals a certain autonomy in its existence. According to Adorno this process of mimesis contains a critical moment: mimetically responding to a situation always means that a critical reaction is implied. Thus one can imagine that it would be posib1e for architecture and the city to be constantly involved in a critical process of mimetically producing and reproducing their identity. It is through such mimetical operations that one could formulate certain answers to the desintegration of the urban body. Such answers do not aim at a negation or a reversal of what is actually happening. They rather try to come to terms with these tendencies by enhancing their intrinsic urban qualities and by looking for new ways to relate spatial experiences, memory and urbanity.