Curitiba Travel Blog

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So what is going on with Curitiba? It’s obviously the golden child of cities. Everyone comes here to study the planning of the town and gape at the wonder of development. All three presentations we saw this week were cheerleaders for this marvel. “So What?” I believe the question begs. I mean how much can you talk about the wonder of the city and still learn. It became clear quickly from the readings and the tours around the city that this place is very well planned and should be used as a model for multiple projects concerning urban planning. People flock to live because of the high quality of life. Its clean, there’s space for activities (cultural and athletic), and jobs are available. But I think while looking at the positivos of Curitiba, it’s also important to critique what they must continue to work on. In ignoring the difficulties, the success of the city overshadows the problems of the society. We haven’t gone into detail about the downfalls of this place. Not to sound pessimistic, but there have had to been some sacrifices in the name of development. Why are those ignored instead of addressed? Why is it that all talks are promoting the city heavily with a similar if not the same technique? Why should a city need to be promoted so heavily if it’s doing well on its own? Today we visited the office that takes care of promoting Curitiba to the world. Well it seems like every office in Curitiba does that, but this one was clearer about their mission. We brought up the issue of favelas, their place in Curitiba and what the city does to address this issue. This was the first time that we looked at some current negative issues facing the city and not simply the progress that the city is known for. Really what does the city do about the favelas though? The answers to the problems are unclear and unsettling. If Curitiba is supposed to be a model city, it should lead in addressing this issue as well. Other cities of Brazil as well as around the world (specifically in developing nations) address this concern when looking towards improved urban development. Curitiba seems to heavily focus on attracting international companies and economic growth. Within this model, the latest in educational monopolies pairs perfectly. This is success, but I’m skeptical that societal concerns still hold a place as well. If the city responds to the needs of the community and balances the good and the bad, it should also promote this. The fact that it is ignored (like racism in Brazil) is very concerning to me. The progress that the city boasts is to be commended. I would have liked to see more of the work done with the community on these tours though.
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photo by: joesu