Quito, is an unknown city. However, it is the Spanish-American capital that has best preserved its archives. A paradox that must be understood in order to restore its rank to the one that was long considered the second largest city in South America, just behind Lima. Built on a geological fault, Quito is directly threatened by three volcanoes and rainwater runoff. The 1987 earthquake raised awareness in a new way: the architectural and archival heritage has since been the subject of a real rescue policy, under the aegis of UNESCO. However, this celebrated heritage is nowadays prey to identity claims, heritage policies and urban planning plans that are not very concerned about such legacies. There is little consensus on urban modernity, as illustrated by the recent controversy over the construction of the Metro. Quito – the « Light of America » – deserves to be thought about a possible “past future” would allow planners to avoid many of the mistakes made in Mexico City, Lima or Bogotá. Archival City will contribute to this by providing an exhaustive inventory of archives, innovative mapping and reflection on the urban future. Under the coordination of Julio Echeverría and Georges Lomné, an important group of researchers are involved in this ambition. Most of them are attached to the best research centres in the city: the Andean University Simon Bolivar (UASB), the Institute of City History, the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO), the University of San Francisco (USF).