'Where exactly in Brazil do you come from?' – A very recurrent question since I moved abroad. Curitiba – pronounced "Coo-ree-chee-bah" – is the answer. It's a thriving and innovative city in south Brazil with around 2 million people. It's considered a model for Urban Design and one of the World's Smartest Cities according to Forbes Magazine. Curitiba has linked flood control, environmental quality, economic development and public transportation quite successfully.
Youtube provides an easy way to get sounds, images and impressions of the city that I cannot convey with just a brief description. Here's a compilation of videos about Curitiba, a city that has greatly influenced my passion for efficient design:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6HFFes-BhE Make sure to turn on caption/subtitles at the bottom of the video below. http://youtu.be/B9YJ4xDRIiA?hd=1
An overview of the city's approach to the environment and public transportation.
CNN's reporter Richard Quest travels to Curitiba for the series Future Cities.
And if you're really into Urbanism, here's another in-depth video about Curitiba's BRT – Bus Rapid Transit System.
Some quick facts about Curitiba:
- It has a very educated workforce, with a 96% literacy rate;
- It has 55 higher education institutions – including the Federal University of Paraná, the oldest university in Brazil – with around 60.000 enrolled students;
- It's one of the 100 wealthiest cities in the world, with a per capita income 86% higher than the Brazilian average;
- Green areas in Curitiba add up to more than 3 times the recommendation of the UN per inhabitant;
- In 2010 Curitiba was awarded the Globe Sustainable City Award for urban planning and development; Reader’s Digest Magazine ranks it as the best place to live in Brazil;
- Time zone is one hour ahead of New York.
Source: Curitiba Offshore
Curitiba also has flaws, and it suffers from a lot of Brazil's most common problems – including crime and social segregation in some parts of the city. Still, it is a great example of how good Urban Design can change the life of a city and improve the daily activities of its citizens. A model to be followed.