Urban planning works. That is the lesson of Curitiba, which has engaged in proactive planning for its future for nearly 40 years. While other Brazilian cities welcomed heavy industry, Curitiba accepted only non-polluters and developed an industrial district with so much green space that it was derided as a “golf course” until it filled up with more than 3,500 companies. Beginning in the 1970s, the master plan laid out streets, public transportation, shopping, industrial and residential areas. Today, clean water reaches 100% and sanitation 93% of the population, and the city offers a range of services still rare in emerging market nations: municipal healthcare, education and daycare networks, neighborhood libraries, and sports and culture facilities near mass transport terminals.
Curitiba has established a total of 9 entrepreneurial spaces throughout the city through a partnership with SEBRAE (Brazilian Service to Support Micro and Small Enterprises). These public offices provide guidance and consultation to local citizens interested in starting new businesses, including training and qualification programs. In 2018, the entrepreneurial spaces hosted nearly 60,000 citizens, with 2,500 completing qualification courses. Curitiba looks to top these numbers in 2019 with 50,000 attendees as of August and over 2,000 qualifications completed. The spaces received a Customer Service Reference Award in 2018 for their successes.
Promoting Citizen Engagement with the Curitiba App
In March of 2018, the city launched the Curitiba App, a mobile application that provides citizens and tourists with information, services, events and news from City Hall. The app combines the utilities of several smaller existing apps as well as 600 City Hall services. Through the Curitiba App, citizens can quickly and easily access local news, weather alerts and public transit information as well as book appointments with public services. As of late 2019, the app had been downloaded by 13,000, and the city hopes to double this number in the coming years.
Green Energy and Transit
City buses travel in separate lanes from the rest of traffic and provide electronic ticketing for riders and fleet management via 3G mobile broadband. Curitiba's next goal is to translate its success in economic development into the broadband economy. An open access fiber network serves the city and much of the state, ensuring high levels of service to business. In keeping with Brazil's National Broadband Plan, the city is deploying a wireless overlay to provide free Internet access in low-income neighborhoods. The city has developed Curitiba Technoparque to turn the intellectual output of its 55 colleges and universities into innovative technologies.
Curitiba is developing multiple studies and projects to produce and implement clean energy in public buildings and public transportation. The city has installed a small hydroelectric plant in Barigui park to supply energy to the park, a project that will be replicated in other parks across the city. With the support of C40-CFF, the city is also developing projects to implement solar panels in four bus terminals and the new sustainable Caximba Neighborhood. The total expected generated power is 8 MW, with expected generation of 980,000 kWh/year (equivalent to the consumption of about 65,000 families). The Curitiba Housing Company is also currently implementing a pilot project to build social housing with solar panels.
From 2008 to 2009, Curitiba grew its high-tech companies by 7% and high-tech employment by 25%. Developments like these have given Curitiba an average per-capita income that is 86% higher than that of Brazil.
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