Curitiba, an innovative and multicultural city
Founded in 1693, Curitiba is the capital of Paraná, one of the three southern states of Brazil. Today, together with the 28 municipalities of the Metropolitan Region, Greater Curitiba has a population of approximately 3.2 million inhabitants. Only in the capital live 1.8 million people, making Curitiba the seventh most populous city in Brazil. Situated 934 meters above sea level, in the eastern portion of Paraná, Curitiba has a temperate climate with an average temperature of 21 º C in summer and 13 º C in winter and is known for its cold and rainy weather, with an average annual rainfall of 1,413 millimeters. It is a planned city, where the sense of organization is visible in public transportation, public roads and in services. The people of Curitiba are very proud of its transportation system, considered one of the main vectors of urban sustainability. The city has innovated with the conception of exclusive buses lanes, in the 1970s, and the embarkation level – set that is used today in many cities of the world, designated by the contraction BRT (Bus Rapid Transit). Nowadays, Curitiba is experiencing a revival of innovation in transport, with the incorporation of bicycle lanes, exclusive traffic routes for no arterial buses and the first calmed traffic lane, shared between pedestrians, bicycles, cars and buses. City with a strong presence of foreign inhabitants, Curitiba is a cosmopolitan and multicultural capital, receiving strong influence of European descendants, who founded the city. The architecture, cuisine and arts carry much of the colonization of Italians, Poles, Ukrainians, Arabs, Portuguese and Spanish. Urbanized and modern, the city is a reference in solid waste picking, public transportation and human development. Curitiba is known for its three mass urban plans: the straight lines of the French Taulois, from 1857; the 1940’s radials with the „Agache Plan” and the linear city by the master plan of 1965. Though being urban, Curitiba is distinguished by the large presence of trees, squares, parks and woodlands. There are over 30 sites dedicated to environmental preservation and recreation in the 75 districts of the city. The historical sector has the Largo da Ordem, stage of artistic events and the Memorial of Curitiba. On Sundays the place receives a traditional craft fair, with stalls full of local products. The Tiradentes and Garibaldi Squares have historic churches and grand monuments such as the Hall of Liberty at Generoso Marques Square. The historic building of the Federal University of Paraná and the Museu do Olho (The Eye Museum), named after the architect that designed it, Oscar Niemeyer, complete the charming scenery of the historical center.
Curitiba has had a number of economic cycles in those 321 years. From mining to coffee plantation, passing by troopers, yerba mate and wood. Currently, those who move the city’s economy are the service sector, and a strong industrial hub that invests in technology, research and innovation. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the city is U$ 35 billion (as of 2011).