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City of Curitiba: A Model of Sustainable City Growth and Quality Urban Planning

This is the success story of the Sustainable City of Curitiba. A Model of Sustainable City Growth and Quality Urban Planning.

The origins of the city

The origins of the city date back to the 17th century when it was a popular destination for gold-seeking miners. The unsuccessful gold mining eventually gave way to cattle herding during the early 18th century (02) due to the agricultural success the region started to enjoy. Within the 19th century (02), it became the official capital city of the Parana state in Southern Brazil, a state famous worldwide for the magnificent Iguacu falls along the border with Argentina. It also saw an influx of migrants, both foreign and local, into the region towards the century’s end and this continued well into the 20th century.

How is Curitiba Brazil a sustainable city?

The 1940s saw an unprecedented era of economic growth owing largely to agriculture. At its peak in the 1960s (03), the Parana state produced 1/3 of the world’s coffee. The initial population boom in the ’40s led to the hiring of French Architect Alfred Agache. He reorganized the traffic flow and broadened the sewer system (02). However, the ’60s saw another exponential boom in population leading to the call for proposals on further development by the then Mayor, Ivo Arzua. Then, a Jamie Lerner-led team of young architects and planners from the Federal University of Parana stepped up to the challenge. They started the excellent project of the city’s remodelling as it’s seen today.

Successive innovations from this era counting down to the present period have created a city with an efficient transport system using the Bus Rapid Transit System operating on a Trinary system basis. The roads are arterial in a way that there are wide lanes for the 2-3 length buses. The ticket price is the same regardless of the distance! Likewise, various pedestrian-only and bike-only routes run through the city.

Due to excessive flooding, a greenbelt has been cultivated around the city making the city one of the greenest in the world (04). As it stands, over 70% of trash in the city is recycled. This is made possible through trash exchange programs available to children and the less privileged.

City of Curitiba is one of the greenest in the world.

The Ecologist

Sustainability is key in this success story and should the city continue to embrace its multicultural diversity and foster its legacy for future generations, the possibilities for growth are limitless.

Read More about the sustainable city of Curitiba:
  1. (01) Encyclopedia Britannica. 2020. Curitiba | History, Population, & Facts.
  2. (02) 2020. FRONTLINE/WORLD Fellows. Brazil – Curitiba’s Urban Experiment. Master Plan: History | PBS.
  3. (03) 2020. Curitiba Case Study. [ebook] Washington, p.3. Retrieved 27 October 2020 from
  4. (04) Manczyk, A., 2020. The 10 Greenest Cities In The World. [online] Culture Trip. Retrieved 27 October 2020 from