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Sustainable Cities: Curitiba Report


The 21st century has one of the well-known threats namely the degradation of the environment, which has led to eventual climate change and the demise of man. Urbanisation is a major factor in the preservation and destruction of the environment. However, despite the risk, it is progressing at a very fast rate.

Over the past number of decades, there has been an observed increase in the number of people living in cities. The rapid growth of cities in the face of the modern-day urbanisation has also created awareness in the threats that the change poses to the environment. The two trends have posed significant challenges in the development of modern cities that can accommodate as many people as possible while at the same time being friendly to the environment.

Particular observations in the rapid growth of cities have been made in the developing countries. Experts predict that the number of people in developing countries living in urban areas is likely to triple in the next 15 years (Dassen, Ton, Eva, and Lieke 200). The trend will likely see an increase in gases emitted into the atmosphere, with the current natural resources being at the blink of depletion (Clarke 42).

In light of the above observations, some governments and international bodies and companies have set out to device cities that have been popularly known as “ecocities” or “sustainable cities”. This report details an example of such a project in the Parana state of Brazil that was created with the view of developing a sustainable city and ensuring environmental conservation.

Parana State in Brazil

Brazil is the largest country in South America. In fact, it has 26 states with Parana being one of them. Parana state is located in the southern part of Brazil. It has a large part of its border adjacent to the Atlantic sea on the East. The Northern border of Parana is next to Sao Paulo state.

It also shares a border with the Santa Catarina state and Argentina to the South (OECD 4). To the west, the state borders the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul and Paraguay, with the common border here being made by the river after which the state is named. Important to note in relation to this essay is that the Parana state has one of the most important indigenous forests in the world. This forest is called the Araucaria forest. A significant part of this forest has been lost in the past. Only part of it can still be found in the Parana state.

The Parana state has some major tourist attraction cites, with examples being the State Park, the Iguacu national park, and the manmade dam, which is the largest of its type in the world (Santana, Gabriela, and Luis 723). Among the major attractions, the state of Parana has its capital city as Curitiba.

The city has a significantly different life compared to the rest of Brazil as a whole. The state is reported to have a population of over 10 million people, with a population density of about 51.48 people per square kilometre (Dassen, Ton, Eva, and Lieke 200). The degree of urbanisation is at 84.5% with the population growth being recorded at 1.4% according to the 2006 figures provided in the 2006 census (OECD 4).

Parana state is a very fertile place. Extensive agriculture is practiced with the main products produced being coffee, soya beans, sugarcane, and animal products. The state was an important one in the period that Brazil used to be the leader in coffee export until the frostbite that destroyed the coffee plantations and threw the industry in disarray. The state has however managed to diversify its agricultural sector after the tragedy of 1975. Its commodities rank highly among the top commodities that Brazil exports (Pereira et al. 17).

Agribusiness is an important part of the economy in this state. In fact, it was historically the main source of capital and revenue for a long time. Currently, there are large industries in the state that are focused on manufacturing and assembly, with the main one being the car industry, which began in the 70s. Apart from the capital city that has a large manufacturing base, other cities with manufacturing activities include the cities of Ponta Grossa, Londrina, Maringá, Telemaco Borba, and Cianorte (Dassen, Ton, Eva, and Lieke 200).

The Parana state is also a major education and recreation state hosting a number of major learning institutions in Brazil. Thousands of tourists also visit it every year to enjoy beaches and the natural rock formations that can be seen in the countryside.

Rivers and forests that form part of the beautiful landscape make the state one of the greenest cities in the world. In fact, its location in the tropics makes the weather suitable for all-year activities and holidaying. The state is defined by its capital city, which is the subject of the report based on the title of a sustainable city that it has acquired over the years.

The history of Curitiba: how it became the world first sustainable city

Curitiba has a very long history that is often divided into periods for easier reference and discussion. These indigenous periods existed before the colonialists arrived, the colonisation period that followed it, and the current period. The indigenous period in the city was only marked by the domination of the native tribes. As we know it, the city never existed. Its place had been taken by an exuberant forest. The local tribes living in the forest did much of hunting and gathering of fruits.

In fact, they used the forest to provide for their large families. According to historical evidence from the area, traditional tools were the order of the day. These were simple and only used in the hunting of animals. They are displayed in the city museums, with the early photographs of the area also being on display. The native tribes in the land where the city stands were the Tingui of the Tupi-Guarani nation that were mainly herders and hunters (OECD 6).

The climate of the area is mainly adverse. In fact, it occasionally has spells of frost and snow. The locals had special ways of surviving in these conditions. There is sufficient evidence to show that they were highly adapted for the same (Irazabal 56). The native tribes present at the time the foreigners began arriving included the Jê and Tupi-Guarani.

The existing houses at the time of the foreign occupation indicate the adaptation that the foreigners had to undergo while settling at the place. The Parana-pine, which is a common sight at the time throughout Brazil, was the dominant vegetation in the forest at the time. It constituted a large part of the forest at Curitiba. The Christian era began with the arrival of foreigners. At that time, the plateau at the place of the current city was called the plateau of Curitibano from which the city derives its name.

The period of colonisation began shortly after the arrival of the said foreigners. This was mainly in the 16th century. The main people involved in the conquest of the place included the Portuguese, the Spanish, and the Indians. The Portuguese and the Spanish foreigners initially wanted to colonise the place to provide sustainable raw materials for their industries back home in the form of stones and precious metals, as well as to participate in trade (Irazabal 54).

These materials based on what they thought were available in abundance in the areas, and hence the need to expel the original inhabitants from the place. The Indians, on the other hand, wanted to enslave the locals and sell them in the international slave trade that was active at the time (Irazabal 56).

Foreigners populated the current location of the city a long period after the first inhabitants set foot there. This was in the mid 17th century (Irazabal 54).

The driving force behind the settlement at the area was the discovery of gold around the place, with the main site being the Paranagua. In 1693, and according to historical sources, the place became a town that was mostly inhabited by the Portuguese who gave it a Christian name. This name continued to change over the years, with the town finally being called Curitiba in the late 1721 (Irazabal 54).

The year that Curitiba officially earned a town status was 1812. It progressed to grow, with agriculture being the main economic activity at the time. Dairy farming featured prominently in the 19th century. Rearing of cattle was the main source of food for the inhabitants. The colonialists introduced new methods of farming in the area. They mainly used the cheaply available local labour to provide for themselves and their families.

A significant reason for the peaceful coexistence of the Indians and the colonisers was mainly religious, with the invaders introducing Christianity in the area (Irazabal 55). Holy shrines built by the early inhabitants can be seen all across the city where the original town existed. The colonisation period was closely followed by the immigration period, which is the period that most of the inhabitants began to introduce their manufacturing and processing prowess.

The immigration period was marked by the increased migration of people from Europe into the town of Curitiba. The main countries that the immigrants came from in Europe included Italy, Germany, Ukraine, and Poland (Irazabal 56). The dawn of 1850 was a year that was marked by increased waves of immigrants.

By 1853, the large population made the area a province of Brazil with Curitiba as the capital city and administration centre. In 1913, the city hosted the first university in Brazil. The university still stands as one of the places to visit in the country. The move towards becoming a sustainable and ecologically friendly city began in the same year, with electric streetcars being flagged off (Irazabal 56).

The immigrant population intermarries with the natives with whom a peace pact had been made together with the Africans who originally came to the area as slaves in the slave trade period. People who were mainly of European descent, therefore, inhabited this part of Brazil, as it is common in most of the southern parts of the country (Irazabal 56).

The immigration period continued after the 1830s, with the main immigrants at the time consisting mainly of the Germans and Portuguese. The ‘poles’ were also significant parts of immigrants. In fact, their experience in the field of agriculture led to the creation of the area as a major agricultural hub in Brazil. Many historians and epidemiological studies done indicate that the area has a very large population of ‘poles’, with their number only coming second to those in Chicago in the USA (Irazabal 56).

The Italian immigrants also contributed to the large number of immigrants. Ukrainians and the Japanese followed them, thus contributing significantly to the diversity in the area (Irazabal 56). These immigrants still contribute a large population of the state. They are involved in the economic activities and provision of labour for the local economy. The city also hosted a number of other immigrants. The immigrants included people such as the Arabs, Syrians, Russians, French, and the British (Irazabal 57).

Currently, the city is well known for its transport and planning accomplishments. There are historical changes that took place in the development of the existing plans. After the end of the Second World War, the population of the city grew at an alarming rate.

In fact, with the evident effects of rapid population growth being obvious in the surrounding cities especially in Sao Paulo, the city planners had to ensure that the planning had to be effective. The first of the plans that were developed to aid in the planning and prevention of overcrowding was referred to as the Agache Plan.

The plan was named after the French architect who first designed it (Duarte, Fábio, and Clovis 190). Some of the proposals that were in the plan included the creation of large roads that would ensure continuous flow of traffic in and out of the city. A large overpass was also included in the plan, and so were the plans to increase modern structures and the zone of the town based on the economic activities (Klink, and Rosana 552).

The plan was largely criticised in the city and in various sectors. It is crucial to note that several reasons were fronted as to why it would not work. However, two main reasons were provided to this effect. The first one was on the financial implication of the project. Many people weighed its feasibility in a city that was not very rich.

Based on the large scale of projects in the plan and especially in the form of infrastructure, the city could not be in a position to fund it due to the high levels of poverty and public debt at the time of its proposal (Duarte, Fábio, and Clovis 190). The second reason for the prediction that the plan would not be applicable is the amount of historical loss that would result.

In the original plan, the large infrastructural projects would involve the destruction of some of the historical monuments in the town. The city is recognised as having some major attachments with its historical buildings and monuments. In fact, it was interesting to see if these would be brought down to create a room for the many arterials suggested in the plan (Duarte, Fábio, and Clovis 192).

As it was predicted, the local residents were opposed to the destruction of the historical monuments. The Agache plan based on the above reasons failed to work for the city. Designers had to look for other options to ease the city’s congestion by providing effective planning. Although it was not applied, the plan also made people aware of the need to implement city planning and the future decongestion of the city.

In 1964 and after the failure of the Agache plan, the city and its mayor required a new and working plan to see the decongestion and prevention of the future incidences. This case marked the need to have experts to work on other plans to have the town planned differently. The acting mayor in 1964 was Ivo Arzula who led in the efforts to have other plans for the city. The mayor had a plan to realise what had been a dream for a long time.

Therefore, the year that followed saw the creation and implementation of what is commonly regarded as the Master Plan (Klink, and Rosana 552). The Master Plan, which was first envisioned in 1964, had its implementation delayed until 1971. The mayor addressed a number of issues that were major in the planning of the city’s infrastructure. Some of the factors contained in the Master Plan included the recurrent issue of urban planning, environmental conservation, and sustainability and other social programs (Hino et al. 228).

The Curitiba Research and Urban Planning Institute (IPPUC) originally developed the Master Plan. This team also constituted professionals and engineers from the local university. The institute was under the leadership of an architect by the name Jaime Lerner (Klink, and Rosana 552).

He would later use the influence to propel himself to politics. In fact, he managed to act as mayor for a number of terms in the city of Curitiba. Therefore, his contribution was of significance in the project (Khayesi, Meleckidzedeck, and Adjo 1549). The plan was successfully implemented in the city, with the benefits being currently experienced. The system provides the public with an in-depth knowledge of their town. It consists of an information system that allows them to access the various routes.

The Master Plan consisted of a major shift from the original Agache plan. The main difference between the two was on the emphasis that each plan gave to the different users of the system. The Agache plan has largely been described as giving priority to the vehicles (Khayesi, Meleckidzedeck, and Adjo 1549).

On the other hand, researchers and engineers agree that the Master Plan prioritises on public transit and gives them the right of way (Khayesi, Meleckidzedeck, and Adjo 1549). The Trinary Road System is a major component of the Master Plan in the city. The system has been described as one that allows the utilisation of cleaner energy and more efficient modes of transport that happens to be cheap too relative to others (Khayesi, Meleckidzedeck, and Adjo 1549).

The transport system is marked by the characteristic system of buses that the plan refers to as the Integrated Transport Net (RIT), which is responsible for the ferrying of the large number of workers to and from their work places as well as within the city centre and its surroundings (Khayesi, Meleckidzedeck, and Adjo 1549).

Another characteristic of the planning system is the ease with which cyclists and pedestrians can move around the city. A major impact of this case is the conservation of the environment by the reduction of the emitted greenhouse gases.

Practices of sustainability in Curitiba

Curitiba has earned the title of one of the pioneer sustainable cities in the world, with many cities being developed based on the framework on which the city is built. Many definitions of sustainability exist, thus pointing to the desire for the current generation of people to preserve and conserve for the future generations.

Karis, McCartney, Yannes, and Veilleux in their study of the transportation network in the city describe sustainability as “the stewardship of natural and human-made resources so that the quality of life and the health of our cities, countryside, and open spaces do not deteriorate from one generation to the next” (15).

The major breakthrough that allowed the city to achieve this kind of sustainability is the implementation of the Master Plan that saw the transportation system achieve near perfection. Over the last five decades, the city has set forth to use the network in the creation of wealth and the removal of barriers to trade.

It is through the implementation of the Master Plan that the city has been able to reach some of the highest levels of environmental conservation and sustainability. The city’s plan also consisted of other social programs that allowed the acquisition of profound sustainability.

The city has been able to achieve a number of levels of sustainability. Some of the contributors of these milestones are very evident. One of the major levels of sustainability discussed above is the transit network in the city (Karis, McCartney, Yannes and Veilleux 15). It is reported that the transit network has increased in significance over the years, with the number of passengers transported by the system exceeding that of the most transit-oriented city in the US and New York (Karis, McCartney, Yannes and Veilleux, 15).

In their report, Karis, McCartney, Yannes, and Veilleux report, “In the 1970’s, about 7% of city travel in Curitiba was done by transit. Later, in the 90s, about 25% of city travel was done by transit…nearly 75% of city travel today is accomplished using the transit system” (15).

The transport system or RIT as is popularly known here is based on a public bus system. The buses are divided into five types based on the function they serve. These categories, according to Karis, McCartney, Yannes, and Veilleux, include the express, the direct, conventional, inter-district, and the feeding buses with each serving a special purpose as indicated by the names (5).

The system of buses has been compared to the subway system. However, it is only that the system is not underground but above ground unlike the subway. Up to 270 passengers may be carried in a single trip. The inter-district buses allow fast access of one part of the city to the next (Karis, McCartney, Yannes and Veilleux 5).

Direct buses, as the name suggests, are the quickest of all the other buses because they have few places that they pick and drop passengers. The third category of buses is the feeder buses. This class of buses is said to link a particular area of the city to the express bus via a bus terminal (Karis, McCartney, Yannes and Veilleux 5). The conventional buses are used to connect people from certain areas within the city centre. They are similar to the bus systems that are seen elsewhere in the world (Karis, McCartney, Yannes and Veilleux 5).

The above evidence indicates that the transit system is an efficient one contributing to the overall sustainability of the city. One of the major reasons why the transit system is very effective as stated previously is due to the design that the innovators put in when constructing it as a way of discouraging the shipment of other vehicular modes of transport except the buses.

The transit system is also effective in the economic sense. In fact, local families are able to afford it. This makes the transport system one of the cheapest in the world, with families only spending a very small proportion of their income on transport (Bell 212).

The Master Plan has allowed pedestrians to move more easily in the city centre compared to vehicles. This makes it easy for them to walk to and from the shopping complexes and the markets located there on foot rather than driving to the places (Karis, McCartney, Yannes and Veilleux 15).

This strategy is an efficient way of cutting on the emission of greenhouse gases that are described as being harmful to the ecosystem, destroying the ozone, and causing global warming. The other advantage that, in the end, may be evident is the reduction of the obese population in the city because of the people being able to walk to and from work.

Another advantage of the transit system in the city is the generation of profit and the facilitation of trade. The buses used in the system are privately owned. However, they are managed by the city. Individuals and companies buy the buses and allocate them to the city, which in turn assigns them routes and sets the fares for the routes to be used by each of the allocated buses (Karis, McCartney, Yannes and Veilleux 16).

The fares charged in the system are said to be enough to sustain the system and manage it. This means that the tax money contributed by the inhabitants is not used in the system. Instead, it is used to enact developments in other areas of the city. Therefore, it qualifies as a healthy economic system, with multiple benefits to the residents (Karis, McCartney, Yannes and Veilleux 16).

Another sustainability aspect of the city is the environmental part of it. While writing about Brazil and the city in particular, many writers have often called Curitiba the “ecological capital of Brazil” (Karis, McCartney, Yannes and Veilleux 16).

The reason for this name is the widely acknowledged policy of environmental conservation on which the city has adopted and invested heavily. Cities of similar size as Curitiba in the world and across Brazil have significant levels of congestion owing to their transport system and the inadequate planning. In the case of Curitiba, congestion is significantly reduced by the transit system.

The other characteristic about the transit system is its use of green energy to power her buses. This has made it one of the most environmentally efficient systems (Karis, McCartney, Yannes and Veilleux 16). Curitiba, as a result, has some of the freshest air for a city of its size anywhere in the world.

The designing of the city also took into account the amount of open spaces for the residents. The figures represent one of the ecological cities in the world. According to Karis, McCartney, Yannes, and Veilleux, the area available for parks and as open spaces increased after the planning efforts from the “5ft2 of open space per resident to 559 ft2 of open space per resident” (16).

The increased available space in the city has allowed for the planting of more than one million trees. In fact, the number of parks has grown up to over 15 with over 1000 plazas being established (Karis, McCartney, Yannes and Veilleux 15).

The parks make the city one of the most aesthetically appealing of its kind. The effort of planting of trees has contributed to flood control. There were incidences where the Iguazu river’s tributaries flooded the city and caused damage before the creation of these parks (Karis, McCartney, Yannes, and Veilleux 15). However, their creation allowed the trapping of floodwaters. As a result, the city is free from the floods and that it has been so for the past few decades.

The city has also another program that allows it to comfortably acquire the status of the first sustainable city in the world in the form of the recycling programs that is established along with the plans of infrastructure. Karis, McCartney, Yannes, and Veilleux establish three recycling programs in the city including the “garbage is not garbage program” that entails the sorting of recyclable materials at the household level and collection of the same by the city (17).

The other program established is the “garbage purchase program.” This allows the purchase of garbage from the poor areas of the city in exchange for some of the items that the city offers (Karis, McCartney, Yannes and Veilleux 17).

In this program, the people of low social economic status that reside in some parts of the city that the garbage trucks are unable to reach and sell their garbage to the city (Karis, McCartney, Yannes and Veilleux 17). This program has enabled poor societies to benefit while at the same time maintaining the city in an ecologically friendly state.

Public support is important in the free running of the Curitiba system. The city officials always try to use the residents in the environmental conservation efforts to provide their basic needs.

Another way in which the city tries to engage the public in the management of the transit system together with the other programs include the provision of buses that are retired from the system to act as avenues of training the residents in a variety of simple courses (Karis, McCartney, Yannes and Veilleux 18). These buses are also used in the transportation of residents to close areas such as the parks that are around town and other areas.

Land use in the city is also a major component of the sustainability element of the city of Curitiba, with the allocation of land for development being made by the city (Karis, McCartney, Yannes and Veilleux 18).

Karis, McCartney, Yannes and Veilleux describe five linear corridors that growth in the city is based on, with four of these areas being set apart for development purposes (Miranda, Hellem de Freitas, and Antônio 145). The division of the city into zones allows the setting of special rules in these areas such as the number of floors that each building in the zone is allowed to have.

Residents can also obtain information freely regarding their pieces of land, and especially the potential buildings that are allowed in the plots (Miranda, Hellem de Freitas, and Antônio 145). One is also required to provide the exact figures regarding any project that he or she would like to undertake in the city. The key considerations include the traffic generated by the project, the infrastructure needed by such traffic, and the other requirements such as parking (Karis, McCartney, Yannes and Veilleux 18).

Another way in which the planning of the Curitiba has been of use in the marketing of the city internationally as a pioneer sustainability city is the preservation of the historical sites around that the infrastructure planning has been able to achieve (Karis, McCartney, Yannes and Veilleux 18). Since the owners of the land on which the historical landmarks are positioned cannot develop this land, the city allows them to transfer it to public ownership in order to get pieces of land of equal values elsewhere in the city.

This strategy has enabled the city inhabitants to contribute in the preservation of the environment and historical sites that are regarded as vital to the economy and in the pride of the local citizens. In the same process, the residents are adequately compensated for any loss that they encounter in the preservation of the historical sites.

Despite the efforts put to ensure that the city achieves considerable sustainability status, a number of challenges are still evident (Zannin, Fabiano Belisário Dinis, and Wiliam 351). Of importance is the number of people who are still poor in the city together with the evident environmental damage that is associated with poor areas.

Some households are still not integrated in the sewer system, with this situation contributing to the damage of the environment (Carvalho, Luís, Giuliano, and Jeroen 390). Despite the challenges, however, the city remains a model in the world by retaining the title of one of the pioneer sustainable cities.

Lessons from Curitiba

Curitiba has a number of lessons that other cities and planners around the world can learn and apply in their future planning processes. The system that the city uses has been tried and tested with time. As a result, it has proven to be effective. The planning of a major city needs to be coordinated in a manner that involves all stakeholders and especially the public (Moore 24). In the case of Curitiba, the public has contributed significantly to the functioning of the systems and programs put in place.

It is worth noting that, without their support and education, this outcome would not have been possible. Several ambitious projects have been created in other cities elsewhere in the world. In fact, one of the reasons that they may not have succeeded in comparison with the system applied in Curitiba is ignorance of the role that the public can play.

To ensure that this situation is not the case, public engineers need to carry out consultative processes to ensure that all stakeholders are engaged. Another way in which people may be engaged as exemplified in Curitiba is the creation of economic activities that earn them money besides acting as sources of livelihood in addition to simplifying their lives (Moore 24).

Another way of accomplishing this goal is creating a sense of patriotism and ownership in any of the project to be undertaken. This outcome can be realised by emphasising a common value for people. In the case of Curitiba, the preservation of the historical sites that were of importance to the people and the provision of handouts enhanced a sense of patriotism and ownership of the project.

Another lesson from the Curitiba case is the development of public transport systems that have proved to be efficient and sustainable. The city is able to move its population throughout without any overcrowding or unnecessary traffic jams.

Cities need to invest in public transport systems that are not vehicle-oriented besides encouraging more pedestrians to use the roads rather than having them bring their vehicles out to work (Moore 24). Some of the world’s largest cities have a congestion problem that has many dimensions to it. By adopting a transport system such as that of Curitiba, congestion would be reduced significantly in these cities.

Another lesson about the transit system in Curitiba is the organisation and orderliness in which it serves the residents. Cities have a lot to learn from this scenario, as they try to operate some of the most inefficient services. To achieve this characteristic, cities need to ensure that the transit system discourages vehicular transport within the central areas and instead encourage pedestrians and other modes of transport such as cycling.

In the end, this practice will reduce the emissions that vehicular transport is notoriously known for by people. In the case of Curitiba, nearly three quarters of the city residents use the transit system to travel throughout the city and its vicinities (Karis, McCartney, Yannes and Veilleux 18). The move saves the city in terms of pollution and emissions of greenhouse gases.

Most of the rapidly urbanising countries are in the developing world. Therefore, financial implications of setting up a transit system may be beyond them (Karis, McCartney, Yannes, and Veilleux 18). However, a lesson from Curitiba is that building of a transit system requires planning and staging.

These nations only need to come up with rules that will see collaboration between the public and the private sector in a bid to ensure that a public transit system is in place. The financing of a major project like the transit system in Curitiba requires many resources. However, it can be costly to any economy. However, Curitiba has been able to overcome this factor through the institution of costs in terms of charges.

These are able to sustain the system to allow the much-needed tax to be used elsewhere in the city. The reduction of the amount used in the transit system by each household means that the households have more to use elsewhere. A lesson from the above is that nations need to put in place transit systems that are financially efficient and profitable to the economy as a whole (Miranda, Hellem de Freitas, and Antônio 145).

Modern day cities face the challenge of conserving the little available space and ensuring that the environment is preserved (Rabinovitch, Jonas, and Josef 27). Curitiba presents an ideal city that has established a solution to the above problem. From this city, it is clear that the secret to conserving and maintaining order as well as conserving the environment in any city is in the legislation of laws to this effect.

Cities need to enact laws that are meant to conserve space. A working example of this strategy can be the zoning of cities to allow for orderly development. Cities should also leave enough land for parks and villas and/or encourage the planting of more trees. The existence of vegetation in a city is both aesthetic as well as a way of reducing the levels of pollution. Curitiba is one of the few cities in the world where vegetation is practiced. Developing cities need to be built based on this consideration.

Recycling of wastes is another lesson that cities can take from Curitiba. It is a commonly known fact that domestic and industrial waste is one of the major contributors of pollution in major cities around the world (Bakonyi et al. 698). A way of reducing pollution due to this waste is the adoption of programs such as those used in Curitiba.

This plan could mean cutting the city pollution significantly. The three programs used by the city are efficient. Cities around the world could adopt them and use them to ensure that more than half the waste is recycled. The system can be used to ensure reduced pollution and/or as a source of livelihood for families, thus contributing directly and indirectly to it.

As stated above the city of Curitiba has been able to win public support for the transit system through the various handouts that it gives them together with the reduced cost of travel within the city and the preservation of their treasured historical sites. Nations with developing cities need to adopt the principle of collaboration with the public.

Projects that are not supported by the public are most likely to fail. On the contrary, those that get public backing will succeed such as in the transit system for Curitiba (Kearns 382). One way to ensure that the public supports the projects is to show people the benefits that the complete project will award them with, getting them involved in the project by letting them provide the labour, and setting up structures that they can relate with.

The city representatives and those in charge should also ensure that the public is able to access the vital information regarding the city and land use. Curitiba has been able to set up a system that allows residents to access details about pieces of land and other property in the city.

This practice ensures that the residents are aware of what the authorities expect of them and that they do not cause more congestion in their attempts to construct more structures in places that they are not supposed to do any construction. The practice also allows them to easily choose places to invest. It also allows them to participate indirectly in keeping the city organised.

Another lesson that cities around the world can learn from Curitiba is the utilisation of its natural resources. All across the world, cities are built in places that are unique and with unique features and characteristics. In the case of Curitiba, the natural vegetation in the form of forests and rivers make it unique.

It also has a diverse population with a diverse history and sharing many historical sites. The preservation of these sites and the environment has won the city planners and political office support. Cities, therefore, need to utilise the resources at their disposal together with the ones that are readily available to make them more sustainable.

Curitiba is a city with a past like any other city, with the only difference being the efforts that went into planning and implementation of the programs. Cities can learn from it and ensure that nothing happens in them unplanned. They should also be built with the future in mind. As a result, the space for the future expansion and development should be a major consideration. Ways in which cities can ensure that there is enough space for future expansion and construction is by enacting conservative laws (Gallion, Arthur, and Eisner 34).

The city of Curitiba is an industrialised one. Several major industries and manufacturing plants can be found here. Their output in terms of waste is also controlled by the city. However, a requirement is that they should show that they are not contributing to the environment every year.

Companies intending to set up camp in this city are also required to show commitment in the preservation of the environment besides exhibiting corporate social responsibility. The city hall exempts them from some charges based on the commitment they show to the course. This requirement has meant that companies reduce their pollutants and outputs that may be harmful to the environment. Cities around the world need to learn from Curitiba to ensure that they set up policies that are focused on preserving the environment.

There are other lessons that cities around the world can learn from Curitiba including the management of natural resources at their disposal. As indicated above, various cities have natural resources at their disposal. In fact, most of them have no systems to ensure that the resources are utilised to the positive development of the city.

The most effective way of ensuring that the cities are able to utilise the resources is to ensure that they have plans in place. They should endeavour to protect the existing resources while creating more sustainable ones. That way, they can ensure that nature works to their advantage rather than to hinder their development.

It is evident that planning a city and running it is a very expensive task that those in charge are mandated to handle. However, planning the city infrastructure reduces these costs although the start may be expensive. In the case of Curitiba, the initial process of getting the programs running was expensive.

The labour and resources used were significantly large. However, due to effective planning and management, the programs are efficient and sustainable. As a result, the future looks bright. Leaders in developing countries where cities are growing at an alarming rate, with urbanisation catching, need to put this into context and apply it for future experience.

Another lesson is the management of public resources. The city of Curitiba has a record of being open in the management of the systems in place. The available people are in touch with all developments in the city.

One way that this case is possible is through the establishment of effective public relations and marketing strategies. Cities should adopt this strategy to ensure that their populations are updated on the activities that they intend to carry out. This strategy is likely to win the public and/or promote private-public cooperation in all sectors.

As indicated above, Curitiba is a sustainable city. However, there is a lot that cities can learn from this prototype. However, the city still has some challenges despite the working systems. It also needs to look outside and within Brazil to learn how to cope with them.

To show the differences of the Curitiba system and other cities in the world, it is important to compare it with another city. Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates is a city that fits comparison with Curitiba. As a result, the next section will be a comparison of the two in terms of sustainable development.

Comparison between Curitiba and Abu Dhabi in terms of sustainable development

Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates. It is only the second to Dubai in terms of size and population (SulaymaÌ 12). It is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. The discovery of oil in the Emirates is largely believed to be one of the factors that led to its rapid development. It houses the government businesses in the capital. It also houses the ruling family in the Emirates.

Currently, the city is a metropolitan with large populations of people from all over the world and especially from Arabia (Tatchell 7). It is also situated in a region where urbanisation is rapidly happening, with people moving to cities all over the Emirates. The city is also the home to many multinational companies. Some have even set up their headquarters here. This makes the city one of the business hubs in the region. In fact, the city is reputed for its tourism and catering services.

Abu Dhabi and Curitiba have a lot in common historically. The first is the diverse nature of the initial inhabitants of both cities. Abu Dhabi is said to have been inhabited by early Arabs and other immigrants from the region who practiced mainly trade in pearls. Another similarity is the point at which the two cities lay at the beginning of the century, with both having financial problems that saw the city slow down its developments compared to the current rate of development being evidenced.

However, with the discovery of oil in the late 30s, the development of Abu Dhabi improved, and has stabilised in the last few decades to be considered for some time the richest city in the world (Tatchell 7). This move is in contrast to the city of Curitiba that has mainly depended on a variety of economic activities to provide the much-needed capital.

The natural conditions of the two cities are also different. Unlike Curitiba, which is located near tropical forests and productive land, Abu Dhabi is built in an area that is predominantly a desert. Throughout the year, Abu Dhabi only has brief periods of rainfall or even none in a year. This makes agricultural activities challenging. Preservation of the environment is largely by forestation. Over the last few decades, however, the city has embarked on major agricultural and irrigation activities to provide for the population.

Like the city of Curitiba, Abu Dhabi has set up measures to ensure sustainability, even as it forges fast forward in development. The percentage of vegetation cover is continuously being increased (Tatchell 7). The number of parks in the city is far larger than that in Curitiba. More parks are being created as the city tries to enhance its image as a green city.

These parks are located at different parts of the city. Residents can freely use them for their activities. Most are free with some being accessed for a fee. Individuals and the public sector are involved in the setting up of these parks. The city officials are not solely responsible for their creation. However, the city also has regulations that allow the planning of such structures and their positioning for maximum utility. This situation is no different from what is practiced in Curitiba.

As discussed above, Curitiba has a very efficient and sustainable transit system that is both environmentally friendly and financially sustainable. It is also controlled by the city, with the public having significant share of its management. In Abu Dhabi, the city is also moving towards a more environmentally friendly transit system (SulaymaÌ 12).

However, unlike Curitiba, Abu Dhabi has a number of transport systems although it has no unique transit system. The city was not specially designed with the decongestion of traffic in mind. The only way that it uses to try to avoid this case is by the building of large motorways (SulaymaÌ 12).

Unlike Curitiba, Abu Dhabi has an active Vehicular transport system, with buses, taxis, and other personal vehicles all using the same lanes and transport routes. Despite the incidences of congestion being significantly few, this method is not sustainable in the future. The city has set up different plans to move towards sustainability (SulaymaÌ 12). Buses have largely dominated the public transport system in Abu Dhabi since their introduction in the late 60s.

The main reason for their preference is due to the government removing any fare charges for the routes within the city. Despite this move managing to reduce the number of people using vehicular transport to the city, there is a reported overcrowding in the buses. The cab business has progressively deteriorated with the implementation of the program (SulaymaÌ 12).

The planning of Abu Dhabi took place in the 70s, with the population planned for being just over half a million inhabitants. Currently, the city houses millions of people, with the same capacity. Unlike Curitiba that had a plan on which to develop the city as a whole, the engineers and planners in Abu Dhabi did not have any major plans.

In fact, there is no reported trial of a plan like the Agache plan in Curitiba (SulaymaÌ 14). However, the city has managed to avoid congestion and/or reduce pollution by the application of different and advanced techniques. Modern roads that are exceptionally large and wide together with the numerous parks in the city are some of these factors.

Due to the original plan of the city to only host only over half of a million people and the current population of over one and a half million, the city frequently experiences congestion and traffic jams (SulaymaÌ 12). The zoning that is used in Curitiba is not existent in Abu Dhabi.

This means that different sized buildings are built in all parts of the town. This has also contributed to the congestion problem. The town has mushrooming buildings and projects. The garbage collection is also not as organised as in Curitiba although the city manages to collect most of the city’s garbage from the households and other premises. The three programs in existent in Curitiba are not existent in Abu Dhabi.

The natural vegetation, although initially absent, has however been replaced. The city is currently one of the greenest in the region with numerous parks and other historical sites (Tatchell 8). The collaboration between the public and the city is not as evident as in Curitiba. The city mainly uses rules and laws to ensure that the public is obliged to the conservation of the environment and prevention of congestion (Tatchell 9).

The city has however embarked on ambitious projects to see it become one of the sustainable cities to join Curitiba. One of these projects is the establishment of the Abu Dhabi Urban planning Council (UPC) that is mandated with the planning of future structures and ensuring the city becomes sustainable by 2030 (SulaymaÌ 13). In comparison, Curitiba emerges as the ideal sustainable city of the two. On the other hand, Abu Dhabi has a lot to do in order to achieve sustainability status.


In conclusion, based on the expositions made in the paper, it is evident that urbanisation has brought about new challenges to global environmental sustainability because of the increased number of people living and moving to the urban centres, with most of them being those in the developing countries.

The major effect of this increment is the destruction of the environment as the cities look for land on which to expand as well as the pollution from the traffic in the cities. The challenge has led to the governments and other institutions establishing sustainable cities. Brazil’s Parana state is one of them. Its capital has been described as one of the first sustainable cities in the world.

The city of Curitiba has a rich history, with a number of immigrants settling here in the last century. Despite the challenges that the city initially experienced, it has managed to avoid the destruction of the remaining tropical forest as it expands. The city also hosts one of the world’s most efficient and sustainable transit system. The system is self-sustainable and profitable to residents since it provides them with daily needs and easing movement within the city.

Other measures and programs that make the city sustainable include the planning that was put in place and the creation of parks for environmental conservation. The garbage collection system is also efficient, with over half of the city’s garbage being collected. Other environmental programs are also evident within the city. A comparison with Abu Dhabi makes it the better city. The city also stands as evidence of what collaboration between the public and private sector can achieve.

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"Sustainable Cities: Curitiba." IvyPanda, 29 Jan. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/sustainable-cities-curitiba/.

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