Seeing the Big Picture: Cities of the Future. #architecture #eco

For the first Urbanverse guest blogger, I am very pleased to  welcome Ana Maria Manzo, an architect practicing in Valencia, Venezuela. Thank you, Ana, for this excellent inaugural contribution on future cities.

by Ana Maria Manzo


I remember hearing that when designing a park, the best way to define the route that would follow the trails, was to put a group of people in the area and observe the paths they followed, the places where they stopped to take breaks.

When I think of how to design future cities, it always comes to my mind that idea I heard once. From my point of view, it is people, those who will be the inhabitants of the cities of the future, who hold the key to show us the way toward a better life.

To create successful cities, we must begin by reviewing what we have, the way we live, what people want and need, and evolve from there.

Architecture should be made by people and for people, and not for architects. We must remember that not everyone in the world are architects, therefore, not everyone has the ability to visualize things that have not been created yet, because they have not been trained for it, unlike us. Accordingly, not everyone will easily accept the idea of feeling comfortable in a place so different than the one they are accustomed to living.

An architect who faces the image of a city of the future may think it is impressive and exciting; can feel drawn to it and compelled to find ways to make it real as soon as possible; live the change, experience the differences.

Proposals such as the one presented by the Venus Project makes us dream and believe that change is close.

Part 1:

Part 2:

But it is precisely this type of change the one that comes to my mind when I write about non-architects not being able to visualize and relate easily to; drastic changes that erase what we have, eliminating cities and creating new ones. It is possible that this is the best solution to create a better future, but the truth is that there are many people that we must convince first. And the best way to do it is by identifying their needs and then designing based on them.

Big changes are already happening in some countries.


Masdar, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.



Dongtan, China



BedZED, London, U.K.

These are some examples that show us that it can be done; but there are still many skeptics.

For non-architects, or at least for some of them, the images of these cities of the future they find online, are a crazy fantasy; many may even get afraid when seeing them, fear of change, of the unknown. And, as a result of this fear, rejection appears.


(I think this picture is scary even to me)

That is why I think change should be gradual, at least in the most skeptic countries but, above all, should be made thinking of non-architects. We must think of the best way to reach people, to sell to them our futuristic ideas which have to be created based on their own needs so they can relate to them. I think the most important thing is to take one step at a time so as not to frighten these countries with an absolute transformation, in one fell swoop. Small changes are easier to digest, therefore, are more likely to be accepted quickly and can be seeing come true in the short term, unlike what would happen to big changes.

We must see the big picture, dream big and go after that dream; and sometimes the best way to do it is by making small positive changes which will gradually turn into big changes for the world and its inhabitants.

Let´s observe the paths that people follow and change the world one small change at a time…

Ana María Manzo

I am a Venezuelan architect who has devoted the last nine years to developing residential, commercial, industrial, and interior design projects. I have designed for Chrysler, Kraft, and Lucky Strike, among others. I recently started writing, which has been my passion for years. An eternal daydreamer, always looking for happy thoughts.

twitter: @anammanzo

blog:the place of dreams

Images credits

Scary future

The Venus Project