- What was Lerner’s vision of a good city?
Lerner believed that a city was not a problem, it was a solution for the problem of climate change. Lerner felt that every city had the potential to be the best city in the world, but every city is unique and needs a unique infrastructure to help the city run to its best potential. In Lerner’s vision, cars are evil and public transportation is good. Decreasing the quantity of drivers in any city, particularly large metropolitan areas, will increase the quality of life and the environment of the area if people rely more on public transportation and less on single family cars.
- What kinds of actions did he take to upgrade Curitiba?
Lerner took actions to upgrade Curitiba by transforming the infrastructure of Curitiba. He called it urban acupuncture. Small puncture wounds that could transform a small area into a new and beautiful place. Lerner believed that everyone could make a change to improve Curitiba- from children to the elderly. His ideas were simple- use less, drive less, work close to home and YOU can make a change.
- How did he make the most of limited resources?
Curitiba is a poor city. Lerner made use of his limited resources by relying on everyday items that were effecting the city, litter and rubbish, and turned them into currency- helping clean up the streets of Curitiba all while promoting the use of public transportation.
- How is this version of a developing city different from what you have seen in Mexico City or Mumbai?
The version of a developing city is different from Mexico City and Mumbai because Lerner emphasized a focus on current resources that could be used to foster sustainable development, rather than implementing new strategies that required NEW materials. In Curitiba it was truly about reusing, reducing and cleaning up the city, all while placing an emphasis on decreasing carbon emissions from cars by utilizing public transportation.
- What lessons might be applied in the United States?
Lessons the United States can take from Lerner and the city of Curitiba is certainly the idea of using less and relying on the resources around us to help improve our own environment.
If NYC were to implement a type of currency where garbage helped pay for public transportation, I do believe carbon emissions would decrease- but at the same time, the NYC subways are already overcrowded, so that may create new problems. This is a good example of what Lerner meant when he said each city is unique and requires a specific new infrastructure to help them obtain the most eco-friendly way of life possible.
- What makes Curitiba an ideal case study in sustainable development?
Curitiba, Brazil is an ideal location for a case study in sustainable development because it is situated on the Atlantic ocean and is an agricultural hub for the country. The population crisis in Curitiba is the biggest factor in it’s being a suitable location for a case study on sustainable development. “The rubbish piled up, rodents got into it and all kinds of diseases broke out because they did not have the money to apply ‘normal’ solutions, such as bulldozing the area to build streets.”
- What specific elements of the city are considered to be visionary in terms of creating a better place for people?
Visionary elements that exemplified a better way of life for the Curitiba people include their redesigned transportation infrastructure, which allowed citizens to commute throughout the city much more easily than they had in the past, the use of recyclables as currency due to the fact that it allowed the poorest in Curitiba to get to work or wherever they needed to go just by helping clean up the city. “Curitiba created a new currency recyclables in garbage for
bus tokens; biodegradable materials in garbage for a food parcel of seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables; and a school-based garbage collection programme also swapped garbage collected by students for notebooks. Soon the neighborhoods were picked clean by tens of thousands of children, who learned quickly to distinguish even different types of plastic.’” This was an excellent way of turning waste into profit in a way that helped the citizens of Curitiba.
- Are any of these initiatives useful potentially to the United States? Or other parts of the developing world?
The United States could learn a lot from the methods adopted in Curitiba. In overpopulated cities like New York, Los Angeles (which currently has NO underground transportation system for its residents), and Atlanta, the cities are filled with garbage, along with people who rely on public transportation on a daily basis. These cities are in debt. Our country is in debt and the sustainable development implemented in Curitiba would be a huge step forward for the United States or any developing country that currently lacks in these types of resources.