After graduating from university in 1994, Juan Vargas began developing the idea of a self-sustaining city. He conducted research on his own and wrote a book proposing the idea. In 1999, he set up the Ecotek Foundation in Bogotá, Colombia to launch the experiment.

The project didn’t go very far because the armed conflict in Colombia was at its peak, so neither the government nor the other stakeholders paid much attention to the proposal. The foundation closed shop in 2002. Juan went on to a different line of work, but he continued to advance the development model, albeit at a much slower pace.

In 2106, after having moved to Berlin, Juan began working on reverse engineering the systems (e.g. transport, agriculture, manufacturing, energy, etc.) required to operate a self-sufficient city according to recent advances in technology. He partnered with Ronja Scholz to develop a video game around the concepts of self-sufficiency. The lack of funding lead to shutting down that project. 

Currently, the focus is to design the architecture and conduct research to develop a proof of concept of the bundle of software that comprises the Pukika OS.


Juan Vargas — Vision and Pukika OS Architecture

An economist by trade, Juan is an entrepreneur, writer and director with experience in advertising, sustainability and filmmaking—from TV commercials to formula racing broadcast and film. Shortly after university, Juan had the vision of a self-sustaining city as a holistic solution to end inequality and environmental destruction. His role is to define and communicate the vision, and design the architecture of Pukika OS.

Taro Granato — Spatial Design

Taro is a spatial designer who combines experience in interior and product design with circular economy and green construction. His projects promote sustainability by choosing the right materials and building techniques, as well as helping clients design the service processes and functionality of spaces more efficiently. He’s won some design awards and made some publications. Taro currently owns a spatial design firm in Berlin, About Space. In Pukika, Taro’s role is to incorporate into the architectonic design the specific processes of a city that runs entirely according to Circular Economy, creating a set of construction templates that guarantee sustainability and speed construction.

Ricardo Sánchez — Sustainable Agriculture

Ricardo is a specialist in sustainable agriculture, rural development and agriculture at the national level. He was Vice Minister of Agriculture in Colombia, and has held other high positions in government, NGOs and associations in the agriculture sector. His work deals with finding pragmatic ways to incorporate organic agriculture into the mainstream economy; promoting sustainable techniques while making sure that food security is taken into account. In Pukika, Ricardo’s task is to come up with food production models that protect the environment and safeguard food security.