Reimagining the San Francisco Bay Area 
Douglas Wittnebel in San Francisco, fifty On, urban planning

Video © Gensler

The San Francisco Bay Area has a rich history of dreams, visions, seekers and creators. From the advent of the cable car, the microprocessor and the computer mouse to self-driving cars, Google Glass, virtual systems and garage innovations, the region has long been at the forefront of innovation and experimentation.

At the same time, The Bay Area is changing rapidly. Part of the nature of that constantly-evolving change is that no one really knows where it is headed. But what if we took a minute to reimagine the Bay Area’s future? Would it reveal new possibilities? Or might it affect the way that we live in and develop our cities? As architects, we are always dreaming of the future. While we design for the present, we also imagine structures that can adapt and grow as their surrounding areas and inhabitants evolve. Rather than predicting the future, these illustrations take a look at the ‘what if?’– examining what the future could, or should, look like.

It’s important for architects to think about the future because we are hungry for visions and dreams of where we may be going as a city, as a region and as a world. The ability to dream, to conjure and imagine scenarios of the not–so-distant future is part of a rich history of many architects, writers and creators. When we dream about the future, we really do influence the way the future that happens.

Virginia Pettit
Douglas Wittnebel is a Principal and Design Director for Gensler’s Oakland office. With over 30 years of design and management experience, his work is characterized by his creativity, expressive sketches and ability to translate ideas into functional design. Contact him at
Article originally appeared on architecture and design (
See website for complete article licensing information.