Jamie Lerner stands as something of a hero among his fellow
Curitibanos. The chief architect of the Curitiba Master Plan, he was
appointed mayor during Brazil's military dictatorship in 1971. When the
nation returned to democracy, he was elected to another term. During
his 12 years in office, Lerner devised many of Curitiba's innovative,
inexpensive solutions to city problems. For instance, in the early days
of the public transit system, to increase its funding and encourage
ridership, he made a special city lottery, valuing bus fare as lottery
tickets. To combat Curitiba's growing litter problem, he created more
incentives for recycling, including exchanging bottles, cans and other
recyclables for food. Lerner believed in implementing plans swiftly --
in just 72 hours, he converted the city's downtown into Brazil's first
Curitiba does not lie at the seaside but a true ‘green sea’ is at the
population’s disposal: altogether, there are 30 municipal parks and
woods as well as dozens of squares, playgrounds, gardens and areas
decorated with ornamental shrubbery.
Back in the early 70s, a
strategic decision was made regarding the empty urban spaces: instead
of dividing these areas up into land developments, the City Hall
decided to use such areas as an environmental “market reserve”. From
1972 on, parks and woods have been set up on these empty stretches of
land. This strategic move aimed at better environmental conservation,
sanitation and recreational purposes, and the prevention of floods. At
that time there was only one park in the entire city, the old Passeio
located downtown, built in 1886.
In 1989 Curitiba introduced, on a wide-scale basis, before any other
town in the country, the separation of domestic waste into different
types of garbage through the ‘Lixo que não é Lixo
program. Later on, new variations of the program were created such as
the Câmbio Verde
(Green Exchange program) –
through which recyclable garbage could be exchanged for fresh produce
that was in season - and the Compra do Lixo
(through which recyclable garbage is bought) in more remote locations.
STRATEGIC APPROACH TO URBAN PLANNING
French planner, Alfred Agache, developed the first plan to direct urban
in Curitiba in 1943. The government did not implement the plan.
Its main legacy was to introduce the concept of
urban planning to Curitiba's citizens and government. This
awareness edged closer to action in 1964
when the city administration commissioned a Preliminary Urban Plan.
To encourage an influx of new ideas, the city
held a competition for the best plan among local and national
professionals. The result was the
Curitiba Master Plan. In 1965, the city
created the Curitiba Research and Urban Planning Institute to implement
and to continue the planning process.
1965 to 1970, the city administration gave the master plan a low
priority. It did, however, provide the Institute with
to detail procedures for implementing the plan.
In 1971, a new administration began to put the plan into practice
Research and Urban Planning Institute 1965).
will and political skill were important factors in initiating the
steps to implement the plan. Officials had
to adapt each of the plan's elements and sometimes set them aside as
two-dimensional planning concepts met a three-dimensional reality.
This interaction between concept and reality
led to a practical, repetitive planning process.
Curitiba's practical planning process is firmly established.
When ideas are proposed, they are tested conceptually
and then in application. These tests
generate feedback that leads to further improvements and applications.
ongoing process allows Curitiba to fashion solutions that fit real
problems. Rather than being stymied by
feedback, it refreshes and redirects the process along a progressive
two decades of successes, the Urban Planning Institute is now well
as the local incubator for an urban planning tradition that emphasizes
interplay between planning, analysis, participatory planning and
implementation of the Curitiba Master Plan addressed transportation,
controls, and a hierarchical structure of the road network.
Planners viewed them as complementary tools for
guiding city growth. The plan combines
these tools to direct growth out of the central city and into arterial
growth corridors. Arterial and feeder roadways as well as
on settlement densities defined these corridors.
purpose of the five structural growth corridors was to redirect growth
the central city and into the corridors. This displacement of growth
evenly distributes settlement densities in the city center and in the
corridors. This avoids a sharp peak in
central city densities and the concomitant traffic congestion and noise.
The more even density distribution
congestion enough to facilitate uncongested travel while maintaining
numbers at high enough levels to allow public transportation to be
transportation and more balanced densities also:
- encourage economic
development by reducing the costs of mobility,
trade, and exchange within the city;
- reduce the indirect costs of
other infrastructure improvements such
as water, sewage, electricity, and communication; and
- assist in preserving historic
buildings and areas within the city
gradual development of Curitiba's integrated transportation system is
visible result of the city's planning processes. While this
paper focuses on transportation,
it is important to remember that planners in Curitiba do not isolate
as an entity apart from other aspects of urban life. They do
not view streets only as paved
surfaces but as elements
in a larger network and hierarchy of roads.
A building is not an isolated box but a traffic/public
transport-generating element in a larger pattern of settlement.
analyzes travel as a movement and exchange between activities.
Traditional city planning approaches tend to
be static and oriented toward physical features. Traditional
transportation planning tends to
be excessively data-demanding, equation-based, and technocratic.
Curitiba's planning focuses more on the
relationship between space and movement.
the dynamic features of urban activities.
It considers how much should be invested where.
city uses transportation to heighten the socio-economic payoff from its
planning activities. One example is the
city's role in low income housing.
Rather than build isolated, large scale, and uniform housing projects,
the city took advantage of effective transportation. Curitiba
acquired land near some of the
planned structural corridors before developing them. As
routes were put into place, the city subsidized low income housing
these transportation routes and close to the Curitiba Industrial
City. It also located other small scale, low
income, housing developments throughout the city. These are near the
transportation corridors and thus are 'near' in time and cost to
other activities. These small scale
developments blend into the surrounding residential areas.
integrate rather than isolate low income households into the economy
culture of the larger city. As a result
of this strategy, the city has built housing for 17,000 families.
road hierarchy system is another element of Curitiba's planning system.
Each road has a function in relation to its location
and importance. Curitiba uses four basic
categories to define roads by location and function. There
are arterial structural roads that are
at the core of five growth corridors. Priority linkages run between and
the city center to the city's
outskirts. Collector streets are common
urban streets typically lined with commercial activity and allowing all
traffic. Connector streets link the
structural roads to the industrial city.
use controls target two basic parameters: the land use type and the
development. The four basic land use categories
are residential, commercial, industrial, and services. Allowable
in relation to available transportation. Along most structural routes,
buildings can have a total floor area of up to six times the plot size.
On lower capacity roads that
are well served by public transportation, the city permits floor space
four times plot size. The permitted
ratio of floor space to plot size decreases with the distance a land
from public transportation.
land use density controls encourage a shift of development activity
central city to and around the structural axes. This locates high
residential and commercial in the same areas and matches density to the
availability of public transport. This
eases traffic and human congestion in the central city.
Planners converted wide central avenues in
the central city into open air pedestrian malls and walkways.
These malls and walkways reinforce the city
center as a pleasant locale that preserves historic elements and where
pedestrians have priority.
Urban Design...CURITIBA, BRAZIL..