Jaime Lerner is the man behind Curitiba’s Master Plan. He started as an architect and urban-planner, and later brought his know-how to the city as the three-time Mayor of Curitiba (Capital of Paraná state) and twice as the Governor of the state.
“Curitiba has a master planned transportation system, which includes lanes on major streets devoted to a bus rapid transit system. The buses are long, split into three sections (bi-articulated), and stop at designated elevated tubes, complete with disabled access. There is only one price no matter how far you travel and you pay at the bus stop. The system, used by 85% of Curitiba’s population, is the source of inspiration for the TransMilenio in Bogotá, Colombia, Metrovia in Guayaquil, Ecuador,as well as the Orange Line of Los Angeles, California, and for a future transportation system in Panama City, Panama.
The city has also paid careful attention to preserving and caring for its green areas, boasting 54 m² of green space per inhabitant. At the Park Bariguí, the second largest urban park in Brazil, one can find sheep grazing on the periphery. Why, might you ask? Sheep are a lot less expensive than full-time workers and the grass it provides is enough to keep them fed and happy on the job. Other social projects are in place to encourage the growth of green living, such as a long-running recycling program and a waste-for-food exchange between the government and the poorest residents. All around Curitíba, one can take notice of the ways in which abandoned buildings and would-be parks were transformed into ‘creativity centers’ and even the city’s opera house, Ópera de Arame, situated in the Parque das Pedreiras (Pictured below).
Free Educational Centers
At the same time the city implemented its one-fare system, it also began a project called the “Faróis de Saber” (Lighthouses of Knowledge). These Lighthouses are free educational centers which include libraries, Internet access, and other cultural resources. Job training, social welfare and educational programs are coordinated, and often supply labor to improve the city’s amenities or services, as well as education and income. Due to these ‘Lighthouses’, Curitiba boasts one of the highest literacy rates in the country.”
(Above) November 15 Street, one of the major streets of Curitiba, transformed in a pedestrian-exclusive street in 1972.
(Below) An elevated tube-style bus stop in downtown Curitíba
I recently came across a very interesting short 15-minute documentary in English which reinforces what I’ve said in the previous post. It’s simply brilliant. Enjoy (click on the link above)!