Possibilities to work with the city of Curitiba, Brazil

Published on
October 20, 2015

By signing a Memorandum of Understanding Wageningen UR offers students and researchers a new possibility to work in an international environment on interesting projects in the field of innovative city planning, combining multiple expertise areas. In the city of Curitiba for example we are going to work on clear air, social cohesion, safety, clean water, green and its benefits, etc.

Curitiba is located in the south of Brazil and is capital of the state Paraná. With nearly 2 million inhabitants, many with European roots, the city has reached a relatively high welfare. Curitiba is the example city in Brazil for innovative public transport and city planning. The worldwide reputation of Curitiba among urban planners and specialists is very positive. The pioneer attitude of the city from the 1970s onwards, implementing innovative planning policies and a transportation system, created impact that goes beyond a generation. Furthermore, Curitiba promoted itself as a ‘green city’ in the 1980s, being ahead of its time in sustainability issues. And Curitiba is indeed a very green city, with more than 50 m2 of green areas per inhabitant.

The current plans of the Municipality of Curitiba aim at making use of the existing pioneer image of the city and creating a new vision towards a ‘Smart city’, with its first step focused on mobility. This initiative has great potential of reassuring the innovative status from the past, with a clear vision towards the future. Curitiba needs, as any other city, to keep evolving as the urban environment changes in order to maintain functioning services and at the same time creating new ones for new demands.

Wageningen UR focuses on innovation based on a long term sustainability vision. "Being involved in the new ongoing process that Curitiba is facing, and helping creating the future pioneer initiatives within the city is majorly inspiring," business innovator Natasha de Sena says. "The impact of what Curitiba does is greater than other Brazilian city’s – the perks of the planning fame."

Bicycle mobility

The Memorandum of Understanding with Dutch partners and Brazil partners concerns bicycle mobility. Bicycling fits well in a healthy lifestyle and is therefore promoted by the government. Another issue concerns the capacity to have cars in the city. It is believed that the city will not be able to host a considerable increase in the number of cars in the future. Together the Dutch partners – University Twente, Wageningen University, Ecofys and the Dutch Cycling Embassy - make technological and social innovation possible.

Chances for Wageningen UR

The increasing of slow mobility in a city – cycling and pedestrian flows – has a large impact on the quality of the space. It is a circle: a better quality space is more inviting for cycling and walking, while these activities create a better space. Natasha de Sena: "Within ESG and Alterra, as an example, we are specialized on all indicators of what a healthy living space must offer to its inhabitants: clear air, social cohesion, safety, clean water, green and its benefits, etc. When planning for better cycling mobility, we can include all these themes in an integral approach for larger impact. But only increasing the infrastructure for cycling will not be enough to make the inhabitants, in fact, cycle. Which route has the cleaner air? Which route is the greener? How can we measure the impact of the future mobility scenarios on the air quality of the city? These and other topics, that will make the future mobility approach of Curitiba holistic and fully sustainable, are what we can and will provide."

The Dutch parties will now focus on developing and maintaining relationships in Curitiba following the philosophy of the 'triple helix': the collaboration between government, industry and knowledge institutions. The triple helix in Curitiba will be able to come up with inclusive city planning with strong support by the various parties. The next step is the opening of a physical Living Lab in Curitiba in early 2016.

More information about Curitiba? Contact Natasha de Sena.