Curitiba – Sustainable City

Curitiba in south-eastern Brazil has a global reputation for ‘sustainability’, having successfully dealt with rapid population growth during the late 20th century. The population tripled over twenty years as people from surrounding areas as well as Europe sought work in the city’s industries, such as construction and car manufacturing – in addition to achieving economic and income growth, the city invested in affordable public transport systems and pedestrianised shopping areas, placed limits on urban sprawl and preserved green spaces, with disused land purchased to house new residents. With the lowest illiteracy rate in Brazil, Curitiba has built a ‘Lighthouse of Knowledge’ (‘Farol do Saber’) in every part of the city, situated near schools and public squares – all citizens have access to an observation tower and can use the computers and neighbourhood libraries for free. Students recycle waste in exchange for school supplies and cultural activities, with some of the money raised going to programmes such as those employing homeless people in recycling separation jobs, while an Open University allows residents to undertake courses on everything from hairstyling to mechanics and environmental protection.

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