Monthly Archives: December 2009

A Green City: Parks in Curitiba, Brazil

This post was first published on the City Parks Blog – http://cityparksblog.org

One of the most well regarded world cities in terms of urban planning is Curitiba, Brazil — a place known for its efficient and innovative bus rapid transit system. But the city is also known for its parks, in particular using them to increase quality of life and act as green infrastructure to protect against floods.

tanguá_park_curitiba_brazil

Tanguá Park, Curitiba

The city has about 50 square meters of parkland per person (i.e. 12 acres per 1000), most of which were created in the last 30 years under the direction of forward-looking urban planner/former mayor Jaime Lerner. The protected land is complemented by compact housing, as the city of 1.5 million has a population density of 10,750 per square mile (which is around the same as Philadelphia or Washington, D.C.).

tingui_park_curitiba_brazil

Ukranian Memorial - Tingui Park

Roughly 21 million square meters (5,190 acres) are linear parks along rivers and streams that act as buffers between flood-prone rivers and the city. Legislation set aside certain low-lying areas and river basins as special protection and management areas. The city also used a loan to purchase land at a number of critical sites around the city. Engineers built small damns and created new lakes that act as holding basins when flooding occurs.

botanical_garden_jardim_botanico_curitiba_brazil

Botanical Garden

In effect, these green spaces are giant stormwater facilities, with the lakes as central features. If rains are heavy, the lake rises over the surrounding parks. And Lerner and parks director Hitochi Nakamura made sure to connect places to one another (as mentioned in the below linked video). Together they helped create over 90 miles of new trails within the city, located in southern Brazil about 250 miles southwest of São Paulo.

barigui_park_parque_barigui_curitiba_brazil

Barigui Park

Much has been done to document what’s occurred in Curitiba. A nice 15-minute video (YouTube) by Journeyman Productions gives a good overview, and includes interviews with both Lerner and Nakamura. (The segment on parks starts just after the seven-minute mark.) Another good resource on all of the planning efforts and problems that persist in the city is the book, Urban Renewal, Municipal Revitalization: the Case of Curitiba Brazil.

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“Innovative Solutions for Public Transport; Curitiba, Brazil” By Lars Friberg

Great article written by Lars Friberg, from the Uppsala University (Sweden)

ABSTRACT:

Curitiba, capital of the Brazilian state Paraná 400km south east of São Paulo has over the last 30 years developed a non subsidiside, private owned, public transport system. Today it stands as a model recognized internationally. In sightful, long term planning with several innovative solutions has provided the citizens with an effective system that gives priority to public instead of private transport. It has the highest user rates of all state Brazilian capitals, 75% of all weekday commuters. All this during an unprecedented city growth.

Click here to read the article!

Curitiba's public transportation system

Curitiba's public transportation system

Also, check out the tour “Curitiba like locals: Urban Planing”, a  private tour where you can get the chance to see how locals use the great Curitibas’s public transportation system  and also get more information about how Curitiba developed it in the last decades. Well recomended!

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Surprise Yourself in Curitiba, Brazil

By Guilherme Mendes Thomaz@guimendesthomaz

Thinking about Brazil, Curitiba is not the first thing that comes in mind. The city has been surprising travelers from all over the world and is becoming popular over the years. Once in Brazil you can’t leave without going to Curitiba.

Ilha do Mel Farol

Ilha do Mel's light house

Curitiba is the capital city of Parana State, located 1 hour and 20 minutes from Rio de Janeiro and only 30 minutes from São Paulo by plane. The city is considered one of the best places to live in Brazil because of its great infrastructure. Doesn’t matter what your looking for, Curitiba is an awesome city for everyone and has a lot of interesting things to do/see like famous parks, museums, night clubs, restaurants, bars, soccer stadiums, squares, buildings, etc. There are also a lot of touristic attractions around the city like famous islands (Ilha do Mel and Ilha de Superagui), historic cities like Morretes, Antonina, Castro, etc.

First of all, Curitiba has a really fun and exciting nightlife, with plenty options of bars, nightclubs, pubs where the partying doesn’t stop until 5 or 6 in the morning. This added to the Brazilian partying and entertainer spirit, guarantee the night. Curitiba has also great options of restaurants that serve really good food and most of them are cheap. Besides the Brazilian stake houses as known as “Churrascarias” and typical Brazilian restaurants, the gastronomy in Curitiba is a synthesis of habits and cultures. Italian, Arabs, Poles, Germans, Portuguese, Japanese among many other, brought their habits, traditions and culinary to the city. However, since you’re in Brazil you must prove the delicious local culinary.

logo curitiba cidade sede fifa world cup 2014The city has three soccer teams. Atlético Paranaense plays the 1st division of the Brazilian Championship and Coritiba and Paraná play on the 2nd division. Watching soccer games is a really interesting and exciting experience in Curitiba, especially at Atlético’s stadium called “Arena da Baixada”. The stadium was selected to be one of the headquarters stadiums for the FIFA World Cup in 2014. At the stadiums you can feel the energy and passion that the Brazilians have for soccer and their teams.

Curitiba has so many tourist attractions. However, the highlights are Jardim Botânico (Botanical Garden), the handcrafts market at Largo da Ordem, Oscar Niemeyer MuseumÓpera de Arame (Wire Opera House), Largo da Ordem (Old town), Tanguá Park, Barigui Park, Brasil Telecom/OI’s Tower, Passeio Público and the historical building of the Federal University of Paraná.

JardimnBotanico Curitiba Botanical Garden

The Jardim Botânico (Botanical Garden of Curitiba) is modeled like the French Gardens is a great place to go stroll and relax. The parks are also a great option for that and locals enjoy a lot the green areas of Curitiba .

Feirinha do Largo da OrdemThe Feirinha do Largo da Ordem (handcrafts market) happens every Sunday at Largo da Ordem. At the market you can find local handcrafts and all kinds of food. Most tourists really like the fresh pastéis, caldo-de-cana (sugar cane juice), bolinho de bacalhau.

Museu Oscar Niemeyer - Oscar Niemeyer MuseumThere are always exhibitions of famous artists at the Oscar Niemeyer Museum . The museum was drawn by the famous Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and it’s architecture impress everyone that pass by the local. On the field behind the museum, on Saturday the kids practice football (yes…American footbal, NOT soccer) and on Sunday a lot of people go to the field to play with their dogs.

Visit the Torre da OI/Brasil Telecom is worthwhile. The tower has more than 100 meters , where you can have an amazing panoramic view of Curitiba.

UFPR - Universidade Federal do Paraná

At Praça Santos Andrade, located in downtown you can check the Teatro Guaíra and the beautiful building of the Federal University of Paraná , the first university in Brazil.

The Tourism Line in Curitiba is a great option for tourists. For R$20.00, the bus line pass by the main tourist attractions in Curitiba and gives you the option to stop off at three points of your choice. The buses circulate every 30 minutes, in an approximately 45 km trip that takes around 2.5 hours to complete.
Train_tour_Litorina_Curitiba_Morretes

The famous Litorina train tour from Curitiba to Morretes...

Once in Curitiba , the train tour to Morretes becomes a “must do”. The construction of the railroad in 1880 was one of the big challenges of that time for engineers. The track starts in Curitiba at 934 m above the sea and goes until Morretes just a few meters above sea level. It is one of the most impressive train rides of the world because of the tropical vegetation of the Atlantic Rain Forest , breathtaking bridges, turns and gorgeous landscapes.

This is just a really short description about Curitiba. For more information web sites like Descubra Curitiba and Viaje Curitiba are really helpful to tourists, however, they are in Portuguese. For english speakers  here you can find general and complete information in english about Curitiba and surrounding areas.

From:  Traveler article on Trip Advisor.

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Curitiba Launches Six New Tours!

By Guilherme Mendes Thomaz@guimendesthomaz

Curitiba has definitively confirmed itself as a important tourist region and city, with options for everyone. The Núcleo de Turismo Receptivo (Receptive Tourism Nucleus) of the city, organized by the Sebrae/PR in partnership with the Tourism Institute of Curitiba, launched six new specific tours in the capital of Paraná state, Brazil.

In agreement with the Sebrae/PR consultant and manager of the tourism project, Patricia Albanez, everyone that is direct and indirectly involved with the tourism in Curitiba need to know about these new products. “They are differentiated and attractive scripts, that privilege tourism attractions that are barely awarded in the traditional tourist packages of Curitiba. Moreover, these new tours are relatively fast and can be added in the routine of people who come to Curitiba for business, work, events or leisure.”

Innovative Tourism

Patrician Albanez affirms that the reason of creating and divulging these innovative tours in Curitiba aim to provides the tourist the “experience economy”, where tourists can get the chance to live the city deeply and see it in different forms. The capital of Paraná also becomes a highlight touristic city in southern Brazil.

“The Núcleo de Turismo Receptivo’s project exists since last year and its main objective is to organize and foment the receptive travel agencies of the city, assisting them on businesses diversification and qualification. The Nucleo is composed by 9 specialized companies that are innovating the tourism activity in the city, demonstrating a great associativism “, evaluate the consultant.

THE NEW TOURS IN CURITIBA:

“Caminhando por Curitiba – Curitiba Walking Tour” Special Paraná Turismo & Eventos
This tour is basically a fun and exciting stroll around Curitiba downtown to learn the history and culture of Curitiba. In a approximately 5 kilometers walk will take the tourist to streets and tourist attractions, accompanied by anecdotes and curiosities of the last 350 years of the city. You will also get to see many awesome images of the old Curitiba and see what the city looked like hundreds of years ago.

Visited places:
– Tiradentes Square (Cathedral)
– Largo da Ordem (Ordem Church, Rosario Church, Flores Square)
– Belvedere and São Francisco Ruins
– Solar do Barão
– 19 de dezembro Square
– Arab Memorial
– Passeio Público
– Santos Andrade Square (Teatro Guaíra and University)
– Eufrásio Correia Square (old Train Station)
– Barão do Rio Branco Street
– Marechal Deodoro Street
– Zacarias Square
– Boca Maldita and Osório Square
– Pedestrian area
– Paço da Liberdade

Included in the price:
– Local guide (Portuguese, English, German, French and Italian available)
– Bus ticket

Departure time: Monday trough Saturday (9h and 14h) – between 2 and 10 participants.

BOOK “CURITIBA WALKING TOUR” ONLINE NOW!

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“De Bar em Bar – From Bar to Bar” – MMS Turismo
This tour is perfect and made specially for visitors that loves to make new friendships and wants to know and experience the best bars of Curitiba. In this tour you will go to three or four bars in the same night, guaranteed sit in one of the best tables, beyond an amused and pleasant night. Duration: 4 hours.

Departure time: Monday trough Sunday at 20h.

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Passeio de Compras em Curitiba – Shopping in Curitiba” – ONETUR
This tour will take to go shopping in Curitiba. You will visit malls, shops, outlets and commercial centers of Curitiba, where you can buy many things like clothes of famous national and internationally brands, artisan clothes, mineral rocks, souvenirs, etc.

Duration: 3 – 4 hours
Departure time: Monday trough Friday at 14h.

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Caminhos da Arte Paranaense Paranaense Art Road” – Sermann Turismo
In this tour you will walk around 5 kilometers in approximately 4 hours stroll by the heart of the city to see art works of the city made by the most famous artists Paraná state like Poty Lazzarotto, João Turin, Oscar Niemeyer, etc. This tour will show you the essence of the local art, well known for its multiple languages as painting, sculpture, mosaic, architecture and design.

Departure time: Tuesday trough Saturday at 9h.

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“Curitiba Multicultural” – BWT
Curitiba is fruit of the immigrants’ efforts that, in the XIX century, had chosen the city as its safe port. In a 3 hours stroll you will get to see multiple ethnic marks and the most cultural beauties of the city like the Arab Memorial, Muslim Mosque, Japanese Memorial, Pope Woods, German Woods, the famous Italian neighborhood Santa Felicidade and Tingui Park.

Departure time: Daily (9h and 14h) – minimum of two participants.

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“Esporte Tur em Curitiba – Sport Tur in Curitiba” – Kallisté Turismo
This tour is a great option for visitors who appreciates sports.  Trough a guided visit, this tour will take you at soccer stadiums, the Autódromo Internacional de Curitiba and skate parks of Curitiba.

Duration: 3h30 (approximately)
Departure time: Tuesdays and Fridays – minimum of two participants.

Click here to check other tours in Curitiba and surrounding areas!

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“Curitiba: A green miracle in a developing country” By Daniela Ochoa Gonzalez

Developed and developing nations are being challenged more than ever to provide a good quality of life for their inhabitants while coping with population growth. Curitiba, the most environmentally friendly city in Brazil, is flourishing by meeting these needs. Through embracing sustainable development, it has become an important reference among these communities in terms of planning, public policies, and successful strategy implementation towards environmental sustainability. With 1.7 million residents, Curitiba has grown through calm, harmonic urban solutions that respect individuals and cultures and preserve the environment while sustaining its cosmopolitan cultural identity. This setting makes Curitiba an example for the rest of the world.

How Curitiba got there

Most of the policies that transformed Curitiba into a model of environmental sustainability were initiated by Jaime Lerner, Mayor of Curitiba during Brazil’s military regime in the late 1980s. He and a working team designed and implemented the urban master plan, which included integrated initiatives of green areas, waste recycling, and transportation projects. Today, the public transport system accommodates 2 million passengers daily and is the main source of transportation for 54 percent of the city. Most Curitiba citizens embrace the city’s commitment to environmental responsibility as part of their collective subconscious. The exhaustive marketing and educational campaigns that were carried out during the military regime have been maintained and reinforced during the democratic mandates that have followed. Citizens have incorporated environmental awareness as part of their lifestyle.

Curitiba started its green transformation with the development of an integrated plan for basic sanitation and environmental preservation. When in the early 1970s the United Nations declared that every urban inhabitant should have a minimum of twelve square meters of green area, Curitiba had only a half-square meter per inhabitant. The city implemented various strategic changes, and today the green area per inhabitant is fifty-one square meters. Through land expropriation, the city government offered new sport and leisure spaces while preventing illegal land occupation by those without explicit right to the property. They also created ponds and lakes by containing rainwater at a cost fifty times less than a typical channel network.

 These green areas are spread among thirty forests and parks that have become highly valued meeting points for the population. Several of them are allusive to important local history, honoring the arrival of immigrants and the native habitants, the Tingui Indians. Because immigration contributes to the multicultural accent and development of the region, Curitiba’s green spaces represent its culture with free public libraries of various languages and open spaces that host annual cultural and gastronomic celebrations. The authoritarian government, which reigned from 1964 to 1985, sustained Lerner’s foresight, but the successes of his administration ultimately led to his democratic reelection.

Additional projects improved the strategic use of the extensive green areas in an inclusive way. UNILIVRE, the free university for the environment, is the first of its kind in the Americas. UNILIVRE holds workshops for environmental awareness and education for people of all ages, backgrounds and socioeconomic conditions.

Keeping it clean through sustainable waste management

 A few of Curitiba’s most notable successes are its solid waste management and recycling programs. The city established an industrial landfill through a public-private partnership near the assigned industrial development area. At the landfill site, they neutralize toxic waste (such as batteries) and reuse other materials for cement production. Additionally, they collect and process cooking oil to be reused for soaps and fuel. Finally, they introduced a particular process for clinical and hospital waste to be sterilized before being sent to the organic landfills.

 Curitiba was the first city in the country to practice selective garbage collection by separating organic from inorganic waste. The municipal service collects an average of 1200 tons of organic waste and thirty tons of recyclable materials daily, and independent collectors gather an additional forty-five tons of recyclables daily. Through “Cambio Verde” (green exchange program) another thirteen-and-a-half tons are exchanged. This program exchanges four kilograms of recyclable material for one kilogram of food at over eighty-eight points in the city twice a week.

Recyclables are a profitable source of income not just for the lowest quintile of the local society, but also for the other stakeholders in the recycling system. The majority of the collected materials are donated to the Pro-Citizenship Institute (Instituto Pro Cidadania de Curitiba, or IPCC), a local NGO. IPPC separates, compacts, and sells the material to surrounding recycling factories, giving a source of income to over sixty employees.

Another group that benefits from municipal assistance with recyclable material are the “ecociudadanas” cooperatives. The city provides groups of twenty to twenty-five citizens, mostly women, with a physical space to keep, select, compress and sell the recyclable materials they collect. This system allows them able to double and sometimes triple their regular income while also obtaining healthcare, childcare, and education access for them and their children. As of July 2008 nine ecociudadano cooperative groups existed, and given their successes, the local government is continuously opening more.

Application to other cities

The most likely obstacles that other local governments will face while trying to integrate these policies in their municipalities are budget restrictions. Surprisingly, the expenses for such a progressive system are relatively limited. In 2006, expenditures for the Environmental Department represented just 1.4 percent of Curitiba’s annual budget. However, the annual expenditures for urban development and education were 39.8 percent and 18 percent of the annual budget for Curitiba, respectively. Sustainable planning requires a willingness to invest and cooperate with the private sector, and Curitiba demonstrates how this commitment efficiently promotes environmental preservation.

Curitiba is far from being an ecologic sanctuary, but the “green” attitude of Curitibans has taken them in a positive direction and has transformed the city into an important reference worldwide, inviting others to be creative and value citizens’ input as a priority for environmental conservation. Curitiba, along with other cities such as Portland, OR (USA), Geneva (Switzerland) and many others as in Germany and Sweden, is a living model for other cities that want to implement sustainable living policies. As a blossoming city in a developing country, Curitiba is an inspiration for other cities in this context to overcome economic resource constrains and address the same sustainable challenges.

Daniela Ochoa Gonzalez is a 2009 MPA Candidate in CIPA concentrating in environmental policy.

Check out the tour “Curitiba like locals: Urban Planing”, a  private tour where visitors can have the chance to see how locals use the great Curitibas’s public transportation system  and also get more information how Curitiba developed it in the last decades. Well recomended!

Click here to book this tour online! Check other Curitiba tours at www.curitiba-travel.com.br

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