Curitiba, an example to follow

That’s right, a sustainable city, designed for the citizen. A place where green spaces reign is possible and, moreover, it exists. That city is located in Brazil and is called Curitiba . At Gardenprue we are pleased to present it to you. Do you want to know the leading city in sustainability? Let’s go there.



We have already visited Brazil on another occasion Rua Gonçalo de Carvalho ) but this time we want to immerse ourselves on a larger scale and we show you this Brazilian city, capital of the state of Paraná located in the southeast of the country of about 2.4 million inhabitants. It has had an almost exponential population growth, increasing its population 16 times in the last fifty years. It is a world reference city in environmental ecology issues that stands out for the way it has treated its urban planning in the last thirty years: multidisciplinary groups (architects, engineers, urban planners, sociologists, geographers …) at the exclusive service of improving the quality of life of the citizen.


That is what should have been thought when it was observed that the number of inhabitants in the city was increasing rapidly and that, therefore, the mobility needs as well. Given this, you can choose a solution to mold the streets for a greater number of private vehicles or a more drastic solution: increase pedestrian areas, limiting road traffic areas, and give public transport a greater role. Curitiba boasts of serving two million people a day by bus, with a periodicity of 90 seconds. Bus traffic has been enabled with exclusive lanes and absolute priority of passage, they work like the subway but on the surface, with the savings in infrastructure and maintenance costs that this entails. And of course, the price per ticket is very affordable, which further encourages its use. It is easier and faster to travel by public transport than in your own car . Thus, the use of private vehicles has decreased by up to 30%. Simple solutions that cover big problems are those that define those carried out in this city.


As we saw in another post , Curitiba is the city with the most square meters of green areas per inhabitant (52), but this has not always been the case. Thirty years ago the average of green areas per capita was 0.5 m2 per inhabitant. The evolution has been such that now a fifth of the city is green area , increasing its extension almost 100 times. To achieve this result, old industrial areas and quarries have been recovered, which little by little have been returned to the city in the form of green areas. These areas are now enjoyed by citizens, who can stroll and do activities along the river walks that are now making their way into the city again.

In one of these old quarries there is an emblem of the city of Curitiba: the Free University of the Environment or the Unilivre as it is known there. A wooden building is located inside the Zaninelli forest, of about 35,000 m2, being the only university in Brazil where knowledge about education, economy and preservation of the ecological world is imparted. This is how it is a pleasure to teach.


Curitiba has a 90% recycling rate . The population actively participates in this fact, for example, the inhabitants of the favelas where trucks cannot come to collect garbage, collect their own surplus materials until they take them to authorized points in exchange for clothes, food, bus tickets and even books to children. An example: if they deliver two kilos of garbage, they receive a kilo of food in return . How do they get the money for those items? Very easy, recycling brings benefits, and those benefits are used for these types of programs, such as the creation of urban gardens to grow their own food or the purchase of surplus from farmers to incorporate it into the exchange for garbage in the favelas.

They take recycling to the maximum extent, so much so that the buses that can no longer provide service, enable them as small classes and mobile offices throughout the city; the reuse of the old paper they make prevents around a thousand trees from being felled… daily! It is a recycling without limits .

For all this, and more, is why the inhabitants of Curitiba feel proud to belong and live in this city. And it is that in a survey made to their about which city you would choose to live in the world, they chose Curitiba itself, wouldn’t you do it?

We leave you a video where Jaime Lerner , mayor of the city on several occasions, precursor and creator of the urban planning of Curitiba, is interviewed and who has made this city so. It is in English but we hope that is not a problem. 🙂

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