Mataxourgion is an old quarter of Athens, to the west of and very close to the city's commercial centre. It began developing in the middle of the last century, around a silkmill to which it owes its name, as a residential area housing low and low-medium income families. Its urban fabric consisted of one or two storey houses built on small lots in a simplified neoclassical idiom and following a regular street pattern that was instituted by the first plans for the new capital. By the first decades of our century, Metaxourgion had evolved into a most lively neibourhood, famous for its local folklore. The urban fabric and the social character of the area remained almost unaltered until 1950. During the subsequent decades many of its old houses were replaced by mediumrise apartment buildings, but to a much lesser extent than in other central parts of Athens. That partial and rather sparse renewal altered substantially the traditional fabric, but it proved inadequate to promote the overall image of the area. However, a more fatal alteration resulted from the invasion of land uses incompatible with a residential areas. Indeed, during the last decades the area manufactures, can repair workshops and warehouses have been gathered. Physical deterioration was accompanied the area by social disintegration. Most of the old inhabitants have abandoned the area which is now increasingly attracting poor domestic and foreign immigrants. The Municipality of Athens, in its desire to upgrade the area and to restore its residenttial character, has appointed Environmental Design Company as consultants to analyse the existing situation and to propose relevant interventions. The paper shall focus on the effort made by the consultants to interpret physical, economic and socio-cultural transformations experienced in the area in order to formulate proposals that could be meaningful in the actual context without ignoring valuable assets inherited from the past.