The paper deals with the evolution of the Urban Project, from its beginning to the actual issues. As such it gives a critical review of its meanings and results, focusing on three different phases. A first phase, with various early attempts to modify the modern canon; a second phase, characterised by a "return to the city"; a third phase with both maturation of meaning and increasing drifts. The paper continues showing the emerging of two parallel runs: the Urban Projects direct to further on the city innovation in order to produce "more" city; the Urban Projects exploiting the freeways opened by the traditional planning crisis, progressively unleashing from all but market- oriented conditions.The text then wonders about the difficult perspective of a return of interest in the Urban Project as a paradigm of urban planning.
Keywords: Urban design, project of architecture, disciplinary competition, urban innovation, urban analysis, urban policies.