Introduction: the research aims to investigate upon what is the correct housing support in a world in which (urban) population is growing. The global phenomenon of continuous population growth results in the need for expansion and recalibration of the physical support of living, and therefore of existing collective housing. In recent years, the study of collective urban living revealed the need of new directions for high density housing. In this sense, this research investigates the latest trends of high-density collective housing, which have recently shown some important changes.

Currently collective housing has acquired complex social, urban and ecological meanings. Achieving the right balance between everyone's dream of owning a house and the reality of living in urban areas is the new target, and it is clear that traditional design methods are no longer viable. Therefore studying new means of high density architecture is a necessity for developing correct architectures for the future, since design must be conceived to support an ideal lifestyle that we wish for and not forcing us to adapt to a given environment.

In the professional and theoretical current context, the shaping of new patterns of high density residential architecture was spotted by various professional bodies and non-governmental scientific associations such as UIA, ENHR or IFHP. Also, governmental and local policies of many countries promote high density collective housing, as the best option in meeting the needs of residents the city itself.

In the field of architectural theory, recent academic research generated a series of conferences and books combining mostly theory with practice, such as: Collective Housing: A Manual (Lapuerta, 2007); Housing Density (Department of Building Engineering 2, 2012); Dense Cities (Gangoly et al, 2013), etc. In parallel, architectural publications have recently edited a number of books and albums on the subject of contemporary collective living, managing to present only a fragmented view of the phenomenon.

Method: identifying the new patterns that appeared recently in high density collective housing within urban environments, researching mainly European models. The recognizable and viable models of built dense architecture don’t rely exclusively on maximizing density to the allotted surface related to number of inhabitants, but rather on the mix between spatial configuration and the way in which people inhabit it.

The approach follows on one hand the general context out of which those new patterns evolve, by studying from a theoretical perspective the concepts of emerging models, including social, economic and ecological perspectives on the subject, and on the other hand by a comparative typological study of the spatial patterns and configurations of new collective housing models.

Methodology: bibliographic research on the phenomenon of high density and collective housing; drawings, sketches, graphical data, diagrams, 3D and physical models; investigations by questionnaires addressed to professionals and general public; case studies.

Results: Finding out the correct way of conceiving the collective housing environment for the future, in relation to the local conditions of the current context of Romania. The result would be a structure of the identified representative patterns in a coherent collection of principles that can be followed by future designs, and could be applied within the local context.

Discussion: The results are relevant for designers, for housing policies and also for future inhabitants of collective housing.