To understand how the spaces of Manhattan and Venice ‘work’ it is necessary to look beyond their historical and formal (physical, dimensional, material, cultural) differences, and ﬁ nd the operations that deﬁ ne their making. Manhattan grew on an orthogonal system that ﬁ rst deﬁ ned a theoretical horizontal grid, and then regulated its vertical extrusion, triggering a process of self-destruction and reconstruction that still maintains the city in a perennially unﬁ nished state. Venice is the place of paratactic discontinuity that grew by consolidating, adjusting to the moving topography of its lagoon; but it is also the place that continuously connects, adapts and incorporates. Manhattan and Venice can be read as speciﬁ c systems of ‘order’, as both islands were (and still are) formed according to precise rules of land deﬁ nition, urban organization and expansion that, while they do not predeﬁ ne a form, continue to produce it. Both systems are deﬁ ned by precise and repeatable processes that are able to incorporate exceptions and transgressions; both developed in time, and remain still open. Beyond the obvious differences of their forms, it is a study of their ‘makings’ that enables a possibility of dialogue between the two.