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Curitiba, the Most Intelligent City in the World
In November 2023, Curitiba clinched the prestigious title of ‘Most Intelligent City in the World’ at the World Smart City Awards. This accolade was awarded for the ‘Curitiba Sustainable City’ initiative, a testament to the city’s commitment to fostering innovation, sustainability, technology, and socio-economic growth. Already recognized as Brazil’s leading smart city and a three-time finalist at the Intelligent Community of the Year (ICFCanada), this win marks a significant milestone.

When receiving the trophy at the event’s prizegiving in Barcelona, Spain, Mayor Rafael Greca reflected on this global recognition, coinciding with the city’s 330th anniversary. “Innovation arrived in Curitiba by train when the Rebouças brothers projected a railroad that many specialists considered impossible to build,” said Mayor Greca, remembering the engineers who had an essential role in the development of Curitiba in the second half of the 19th century.

Botanical Garden
Curitiba/Paranagua Railroad became a touristic attraction

Their bold and innovative legacy has been honored nationwide. In tribute, various landmarks bear their name, including a major tunnel in Rio de Janeiro, an avenue in São Paulo, and a street and neighborhood in Curitiba, named Rebouças. Remarkably, 140 years later, this old industrial neighborhood became the site of Pinhão Valley, the ecosystem of innovation in the capital of Parana State.

DNA for innovation
Curitiba’s legacy of innovation is deeply entrenched in the 19th century, when the city had 20.000 inhabitants. This period marked significant advancements, starting with enhancing the water supply from the Ivo River via the Zacarias Square Fountain. Building on this momentum, the city created its first electric power plant. This pioneering facility, a thermoelectric plant, operated on steam from burning wood. The initiative was launched in 1890 under the guidance of Vicente Machado, the State’s president. The operational management was entrusted to engineer Leopoldo Starck, with the plant commencing operations in 1892.

Strategically located near the old train station and just behind the State Congress—now the House of City’s Representatives—the power plant was a marvel of its time. It housed two steam units imported from Budapest, Hungary, collectively producing 44 horsepower. This initial success paved the way for further expansion. In 1901, a second power plant was inaugurated on Capanema Avenue. Equipped with two generators, each boasting 200 horsepower, this facility significantly upgraded the city’s power generation capabilities.

Engineer Andre Rebouças
Engineer Antonio Rebouças

Rebouças Brothers
Antonio and Andre Rebouças, two pioneering Afro-Brazilian brothers, navigated a life brimming with challenges. Born in Brazil’s less developed northeastern region, they broke racial barriers by becoming the first Afro-Brazilians to attend university, subsequently emerging as influential 19th-century engineers.

Their inspiration stemmed from their father, Antonio Pereira Rebouças. As the son of a formerly enslaved woman and a Portuguese tailor, he was a rare black lawyer in Imperial Brazil, occupying a significant role. This position enabled him to fund his sons’ education in Europe.

In Parana State, the Rebouças brothers spearheaded numerous landmark projects, leaving an indelible mark on the region’s infrastructure. Among their notable achievements are the Zacarias Square Water Fountain, the Graciosa Road, and the creation of Iguaçu National Park. However, their most acclaimed work is the Curitiba-Paranagua Railroad, a project that American and European engineers once deemed unfeasible due to the daunting mountains, dense forests, and the significant altitude difference of over 900 meters from Curitiba to the coast.

Undeterred, the Rebouças brothers undertook this formidable task, designing what would become a cornerstone of Brazilian railway engineering. The railroad is not just a transportation link but a marvel of engineering, offering one of the world’s most breathtaking train journeys. It features 30 bridges, 14 tunnels, and spans 110 kilometers across the Atlantic Forest.

First thermoelectric in Curitiba 1892

First University
Entering the 20th century, Curitiba embarked on transformative and groundbreaking projects. Among these was the establishment of Brazil’s first university, the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR), in 1912. Located at Santos Andrade Square, in the bustling downtown and heart of Curitiba, the university’s historic building has been meticulously preserved. Today, it is one of the city’s most prominent landmarks, symbolizing its commitment to education and progress.

That same year, 1912, marked another leap forward for Curitiba with the introduction of an electric trolley system. This modern public transportation mode was a significant upgrade for the community, offering a new and efficient way to navigate the city.

Continuing its legacy into the present day, one of these vintage streetcars has been lovingly restored and now serves as a unique attraction in Curitiba. Permanently displayed on the city’s famous pedestrian thoroughfare, the November 15th Street, this trolley has been repurposed as a library. It hosts a special program for children every Saturday, blending historical preservation with educational outreach and community engagement.

UFPR: First University in Brazil

The Agache Plan
As Curitiba transitioned into the 20th century, it experienced a significant population surge. From a modest 20,000 residents during the Rebouças brothers’ era, the city’s population swelled to over 150,000 by the mid 20th century. Recognizing the need for forward-thinking urban planning, Mayor Rozaldo de Mello Leitão, in the 1940s, enlisted the expertise of French architect and urban planner Alfredo Agache. Agache, renowned for his work in Rio de Janeiro two decades earlier, was tasked with envisioning Curitiba’s future.

Visconde de Guarapuava Ave, from the Agache Plan

The Agache Plan, finalized in 1943, proposed comprehensive changes, structuring the city into distinct sectors for industrial, commercial, administrative, educational, sports, and residential purposes. This plan aimed to streamline the city’s layout and accommodate its growing population effectively.

A key feature of the Agache Plan was implementing a radial system around downtown to ease traffic congestion. This system’s impact is still evident today, with major avenues like Visconde de Guarapuava, September 7th, and Marechal Floriano Peixoto. It also influenced the
industrial concentration in the Rebouças neighborhood and designated future sites for significant developments, such as UFPR’s Politechnical Center, the Civic Center, and the Public Market.

Additionally, the plan addressed expanding water and sewage systems and creating parks in suburban areas, utilizing river curves to form artificial lakes for water sports. It also initiated the widening of critical streets, such as November 15th Avenue. It extended Marechal Floriano Avenue to connect with the neighboring city of São José dos Pinhais, where the Afonso Pena International Airport was under construction.

Old trolley today is a cultural space for kids

Creation of IPPUC
In 1965, Curitiba experienced a transformative event that would redefine its urban landscape: establishing the IPPUC – Curitiba Institute for Research and Urban Planning. Under the leadership of Mayor Ivo Arzua and with funding from Codepar-Parana Economic Development Company, the city government launched a public tender to create a Master Plan. São Paulo-based company Serete won the contract, and renowned architect and urban planner Jorge Wilheim spearheaded the project.

Wilheim’s innovative approach focused on integrating public transportation, road systems, and land use. This triplex concept aimed to harmonize physical and functional infrastructure, guiding the city’s growth. He also emphasized the importance of a local commission to oversee the implementation of the Master Plan. This commission, composed of engineers, architects, economists, sociologists, and other specialists, initially formed the Urban Planning Department and later evolved into IPPUC.

The establishment of IPPUC marked the beginning of a culture of urban planning in Curitiba, providing technical support for future municipal administrations. It led to integrating urban space and human settlements, positioning Curitiba as a global case in urban planning.

Curitiba’s Master Plan 1965 contract

The Master Plan, IPPUC’s first significant output, fostered physical, economic, and cultural transformations, instilling a robust environmental identity among Curitiba’s residents. This plan initiated the NorthSouth Structural Sectors, shifting the city’s spatial organization from a disorganized, radio-centric model focused on the central area to a more linear, tangential model. Growth was now driven by a public transportation system operating in dedicated bus lanes, setting a precedent for future urban development.

Nowadays, Curitiba Master Plan 2040 and sectorial plans (including innovation) are constantly revised.

Barigui Park, built in the 1970s, the most famous in the city

The 1970s ushered in a transformative period for Curitiba, with key urban planners from IPPUC taking the helm as mayors. Jaime Lerner, an architect and urban planner, led the city in two pivotal terms (1971-1974 and 1979-1983), interspersed by the tenure of engineer Saul Raiz from 1975 to 1978. This era, marked by appointments from the state governor under a military federal government, was crucial in shaping Curitiba’s innovative urban development trajectory.

Urbanists at the City Hall
Under the leadership of Jaime Lerner and Saul Raiz, both from IPPUC, there was a significant emphasis on executing the Master Plan alongside numerous other initiatives.

In 1972, Curitiba pioneered urban pedestrianization in Brazil by transforming November 15th Street, a major downtown thoroughfare, into the country’s first pedestrian-only street. Despite initial resistance from local businesses, the City Hall implemented the change over a weekend, surprising residents on Monday morning. Within a few months, the 15th Street, known today as Flower St., became a celebrated aspect of Curitiba, remaining a popular and iconic spot.

That same year saw the creation of Barigui Park, quickly becoming a beloved recreational space among Curitibans. Of the 50 parks in Curitiba, Barigui stands out as the most frequented. The park, crowded with visitors during pleasant weekends, is more than just a recreational area. It’s part of Curitiba’s early foray into sustainability and climate control. It features artificial lakes designed around the Barigui River to mitigate flood damage in nearby neighborhoods – a concept later replicated in other city parks.

Another significant development was the expansion of Curitiba’s industrial capacity. The existing industrial zone in Rebouças could no longer accommodate the city’s growth aspirations. A vast 43 million square meter area was acquired in collaboration with the State Government to establish the Industrial City of Curitiba (CIC). Today, the CIC is a bustling industrial hub, housing over 20,000 companies and employing around 80,000 people.

The Birth of BRT
One of Curitiba’s most iconic and groundbreaking innovations was yet to unfold in 1974: the birth of the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) system. The city hall initiated a novel public bus corridor extending from downtown to the northern part of the city. This system was distinguished by its dedicated bus lanes in the middle of avenues and streets, flanked by local and low speed traffic lanes. For faster transit, parallel streets on either side offered higher speed limits, one facilitating movement from downtown to the neighborhoods and the other in the opposite direction.

This setup was the world’s first trinary transit system, a step beyond the binary systems prevalent in other cities at the time.

But the BRT was more than just a bus corridor. It was coupled with a new land use law along the dedicated lane, promoting the construction of taller buildings with commercial or service spaces on the first and second floors. This public transportation axis was designed to catalyze urban growth, stimulate the real estate sector, boost the economy, and create jobs.

Tube Station

Tube Stations
Curitiba’s public transportation system saw further advancements by introducing new bus routes. The Interbairros service was a notable addition, featuring three layers of circular routes connecting various neighborhoods in clockwise and anticlockwise directions. This innovation enabled passengers to travel from one neighborhood to another without passing through downtown. Additionally, the city launched the Speedy Bus, a service designed to connect terminals with fewer stops, offering a more express-like journey

Memorial of Curitiba: more culture

In the 1990s, Curitiba embraced what is now known as Digital Transformation, under the leadership of Mayor Rafael Greca (1993- 1996). Recognizing the limited access to personal computers among the general populace, the city initiated the Lighthouses of Knowledge project, revolutionizing education within the community.

This initiative saw the construction of small libraries in every neighborhood, each uniquely designed to resemble Egypt’s Alexandria Lighthouse, the first to light the way for sailors around year 250 bc. More than just repositories for books, these Lighthouses of Knowledge were equipped with computers, providing free access to students and the community. This pioneering move established Brazil’s first public internet cafes, or lan-houses, democratizing digital access and fostering a culture of learning and technology use across Curitiba.

Flower Street, first pedestrian-only street in Brazil

Citizenship Streets
In the following years, Curitiba’s commitment to innovation accelerated. The city upgraded its bus system by introducing bi-articulated buses, each as long as three cars and featuring two flexible joints for enhanced mobility. This development was complemented by the bus system integration, allowing passengers to travel with a single fare and seamlessly transfer at main stations linked to Citizenship Streets. These areas, designed to provide localized public services, were established across key locations like Carmo/Boqueirão, Pinheirinho, Portão, and Santa Felicidade neighborhoods. Additionally, the opening of the Memorial of Curitiba cemented the city’s status as a hub of cultural and historical significance.

Citizenship Street: all services

The Waste That Is Not Waste
Curitiba stepped up its commitment to ecological sustainability with innovative initiatives. The city introduced the Green Exchange program, where residents in peripheral areas could exchange recyclables for food vouchers, blending environmental stewardship with community support. Additionally, the “The Waste That Is Not Waste” program was launched, deploying green trucks on a dedicated schedule to collect recyclables city-wide. To champion these environmental efforts, the City Hall created the Leaves Family, a series of endearing cartoon characters that quickly became a beloved symbol of Curitiba’s passion for the environment, capturing the city’s spirit of ecological responsibility.

More Achievements
During this period, Curitiba’s focus on sustainability intensified by creating three parks: Tanguá, Tingui, and the German Woods. These additions not only increased the city’s green spaces but also enhanced leisure options for residents and underscored environmental conservation.

The development of Bairro Novo, or “New Neighborhood,” in the south represented a significant stride in urban planning. This new residential area was fully equipped with paved roads, schools, health units, and the Bairro Novo Maternity, ensuring a high quality of life for the inhabitants of this burgeoning public housing project.

Regarding social welfare, Curitiba pioneered the first Popular Restaurant in Brazil, offering meals at just US$0.20 under the Capanema Bypass. 1993 saw the establishment of the Social Action Foundation (FAS) and the opening of Maria Lodge, both created by FAS president Margarita Sansone. Maria Lodge was a trailblazing shelter for women affected by domestic violence. By 1994, the Curitibana Pharmacy began providing free medication to the public.

In 1995, Curitiba hosted its first international event, the global celebration of World Habitat Day, with the theme “Our Neighbourhood”. This comprehensive array of initiatives and achievements earned Curitiba the prestigious World Habitat Award in 1996, presented by the United Nations, recognizing its commitment to sustainable and socially responsible urban development.

Curitiba created special waste collection

The dawn of the new millennium in 2000 saw Curitiba, under the leadership of mayors Cassio Taniguchi (1997-2004), Beto Richa (2005- 2010), and Luciano Ducci (2010-2012), continuing its journey of relentless innovation. This era was marked by a focus on social and environmental projects, further consolidating Curitiba’s position as a national leader in these domains. The city witnessed the creation of more parks, renovating all cultural spaces, and establishing the Elderly Hospital, equipped with advanced techniques and equipment for senior care.

With Brazil experiencing economic growth and a consequent increase in vehicle ownership, Curitiba, now with a 1,7 million population, addressed the resulting traffic impacts by constructing new transit binaries. The Ring Way project was initiated, revitalizing parallel streets in a circular layout around Downtown to redistribute vehicle flow away from the central area.

A significant development was the commencement of the Green Line, transforming an urban section of a federal highway running north to south through Curitiba. This project included a dedicated bus lane in the middle, turning it into the sixth major transportation corridor and expanding the city’s BRT system.

Additionally, the network of Popular Restaurants was extended with four new units, continuing to provide affordable meals to the working population.

Tingui Park/Ukrainian Memorial

In the 2010’s, Curitiba saw pivotal changes, starting with a Master Plan revision in 2015 under Mayor Gustavo Fruet (2012-2016). In 2017, under Mayor Rafael Greca (2017-2024), the city entered an innovative phase with the Pinhão Valley initiative, fostering a dynamic ecosystem of universities, the private sector and public administration, all collaborating on smart city and innovation projects.

The Curitiba Agency for Development and Innovation established its new headquarters at the Innovation Mill becoming the epicenter of this thriving innovation network. This ecosystem was bolstered by innovation hubs, startups, capital investors and instituitions like Sebrae, the Industrial Federation, and the Commerce Association, all driving forward innovation programs.

The year 2018 marked a significant achievement for Curitiba as it hosted the Smart City Expo Congress, an international event by FIRA Barcelona. Hosting the Brazilian edition, now the second largest globally, underscored Curitiba’s commitment to smart urban development. The expo, sponsored by the Curitiba City Hall and held annually in March to celebrate the city’s anniversary, further established Curitiba as a leader in urban innovation.

Smart City Expo Curitiba

Three Unicorns
Between 2017 and 2022, Curitiba witnessed a remarkable surge in its startup ecosystem, growing from 84 to 604 startups, the highest increase in Brazil. The city launched Brazil’s first public and free coworking spaces, the Worktibas, comprising three units that can accommodate up to 110 startups for up to 20 months. This growth explains why Curitiba, is the only city in South of Brazil with unicorn startups (valued at US$1 billion), three of them – Ebanx, MadeiraMadeira, and Olist.

Olist, unicorn in Curitiba

Curitiba earned significant accolades, including being ranked the second best city for startups in Brazil for three consecutive years (2021-2023) by the StartupBlink Report. It was a finalist in the National Innovation Award in 2022 and 2023, and named the second most entrepreneurial city in Brazil in 2022 by Sebrae. In 2023, it was recognized as the Most Intelligent City in Brazil by the Conexis Brasil Digital ranking.

The city is also the fastest in Brazil for starting a new business, taking less than two hours, as per the Business Map by the Ministry of Economy. This efficiency is due to an integrated online system where entrepreneurs can register, submit documents, and pay license fees through the City Hall website, significantly reducing bureaucratic hurdles.

Curitiba’s success is bolstered by various programs like Good Business, offering entrepreneurship courses for aspiring business owners; Employtech, preparing youth for future jobs; and Employtech 40+, teaching computer programming to those over 40. The Curitibana Entrepreneur Woman initiative conducts monthly workshops for female entrepreneurs and hosts the biennial Curitibana Entrepreneur Woman Award, the largest female entrepreneurship award in Parana State. The Curitiba Entrepreneurial program provides training, consulting, and support to Micro and Small Entrepreneurs (MEIs) across 10 Entrepreneur Spaces at the Citizenship Streets.

Employtech capacitates youth

Fighting the Pandemic
During the challenging times of the pandemic, Curitiba showcased its resilience and innovative spirit, backed by Brazil’s top public health system. In March 2020, at the pandemic’s onset, the city pioneered remote medicine for COVID-19 treatment, a first in the country even before it was legally sanctioned. From 2020 to 2023, Health-Now Central conducted over 800,000 remote consultations.

Curitiba also led the way in COVID-19 vaccinations, leveraging its HealthNow app, which was launched in 2018 and won the Latam Smart City Award in Mexico. The app facilitated swift immunization scheduling and notifications for the population.

The Health-Now app is part of the comprehensive Curitiba APP, offering over 700 public services, including a digital library with 300+ e-books (Curitiba Reads), a city events guide, and bus itineraries.

Post-pandemic, the Curitiba Economic Acceleration Program proved highly effective. In 2022, the city generated over 20,000 new jobs annually, one of Brazil’s highest rates. The city also established the country’s largest Guarantee Fund, providing entrepreneurs with financing guarantees of up to US$ 20 million. Additionally, Curitiba expanded the activities under the Economic Freedom Act from 242 to 606, streamlining business startups. This program gained international recognition at the 2021 World Smart City Awards held in Barcelona.

Curitiba’s commitment to a smart, sustainable future focuses on renewable energy, active mobility, accessible public services, urban revitalization, and carbon emission reduction strategies, aligning with the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The city’s PlanClimate, launched in 2021, outlines 20 priority actions for resilience and carbon neutrality by 2050. These include preserving green spaces, stormwater management, food security, energy efficiency, waste management, low carbon mobility, circular economy strategies, environmental education, the Urban Hypervisor for data analysis, and governance.

WiFi Curitiba, free access

Curitiba’s commitment to digital inclusion saw the Administration, HR Management, and IT Secretariat launch Wi-Fi Curitiba, offering free public internet at 310 locations across the city. Additionally, the e-Citizen initiative bolsters this digital drive, providing access to 36 applications for various city hall services securely and straightforwardly.

Today, nearly all urbanism services in Curitiba are accessible online, including applications for licenses, certifications, civil works, advertising installations, and food truck permits. The GeoCuritiba platform, developed with technology akin to NASA’s, consolidates applications, dashboards, maps, and geographic data for effective territorial management.

The city is also launching the Urban Hypervisor, a platform poised to be the “intelligent brain of the city,” integrating data for monitoring, analysis, and incident prevention across various sectors.

Curitiba stands out as the city with the most extensive usage of 5G in Brazil, a technology only introduced in Brazil in 2022. Curitiba was among the first Brazilian cities to adopt 5G, having proactively legislated for the installation of 5G antennas back in 2019. This foresight positions Curitiba at the forefront of technological advancement and connectivity.

Digital Wall
For public safety, Curitiba implemented the Digital Wall, comprising over 2,000 cameras to monitor the city. These cameras are linked to an Operational Control Center operated by the city’s police force. The system integrates with traffic electronic radars, enhancing overall surveillance capabilities. Following the installation of the Digital Wall, the city registered a 40% reduction in criminal activities, underscoring the effectiveness of digital surveillance in enhancing public safety.

Recognizing the importance of good public lighting for safety, Curitiba began a modernization project, replacing 160,000 lighting points with LED lamps. This significant upgrade was made possible through the city’s first Public-Private Partnership (PPP), marking a milestone in Curitiba’s commitment to safer and more energy-efficient urban environments.

Digital Wall 2000 surveillance câmeras

Speak Curitiba
In May 2017, the Curitiba City Hall launched “Speak Curitiba,” a novel public consultation initiative designed to make the municipal budgeting process more effective and participatory. This model invites citizens to collaborate with the City Hall in shaping the Budget Guidelines Law (LDO) and the Annual Budget Law (LOA). The primary goal of Speak Curitiba is to ensure the democratic nature of public management, emphasizing the crucial role of Citizen democratic engagement in fostering socially sustainable development.

Speak Curitiba is run by IMAP – Municipal Institute for Public Administration, founded in 1963 to lead action of servants capacitation, government plan monitoring, ESG and UN ODS projects, governance and tools for citizen engagement. In February 2024, Speak Curitiba won the prestigious Global Government Excellence Award, at the World Government Summit, in Dubai, promoted by United Arab Emirates Government to recognize initiatives for civic engagement and community empowerment.

Speak Curitiba: Global Government Excellence Award 2024

The iconic Leaves Family campaign, originally from the 1990s, was revived in 2022 with new characters: Flora, a teenager with special needs, her brother Fefo, and their pet, Folheco the dog. These lively characters engage both kids and adults, emphasizing the importance of environmental care, and are part of Curitiba’s successful sustainability initiatives like the “Waste That Is Not Waste” program, which pioneered recyclable waste collection in Brazil.

Curitiba also bolsters its recycling efforts with the Ecocitizen program, involving 40 associations and cooperatives in waste processing, and the Green Exchange program, where residents swap recyclables for fresh produce, exchanging 250 tons of waste for 80 tons of food monthly, aiding 5,200 families and over 370 urban agriculture families. This has led Curitiba to achieve a remarkable 22.5% recycling rate.

The Water Reserve of the Future project, launched in 2019, focuses on securing Curitiba’s water supply. It connects the Iguaçu River’s caves with community water tanks and river reserves to bolster water reserves. The project enhances river conservation and water quality through Nature-based Solutions, encompassing river cleaning, environmental education, sewage regulation, water quality monitoring, and land regularization in collaboration with the Company of Social Housing (Cohab). This comprehensive approach has positively impacted over 140,000 residents.

Leaves Family at Botanical Garden
Public Garden, downtown old zoo

Friends of the River
The Friends of the River program in Curitiba is a comprehensive effort to preserve rivers and water basins. It involves community-driven tree planting along riverbanks, parks, and forests, coupled with educational lectures emphasizing the significance of biodiversity conservation. The program also guides waste management and sanitation. Its diverse audience includes students from municipal, state, and private schools, residents of condominiums, neighborhood associations, and community centers.

A key component of Friends of the River is the formation of Local Support Groups. These groups serve as knowledge ambassadors, disseminating the insights gained from the program. Their role is crucial in ensuring the program’s sustainability and engaging the broader community in the vital work of conserving and restoring water resources in Curitiba. This approach fosters a city-wide commitment to environmental stewardship and protecting vital natural resources.

Tree planting

100,000 Trees
In 2019, Curitiba’s City Hall initiated an ambitious project to plant 100,000 trees annually. This program involves not only the planting of trees by the City Hall but also the distribution of saplings to citizens, encouraging their active participation in this green endeavor. The primary objective of this program is to augment the city’s tree population to combat the effects of climate change, directly contributing to an enhanced quality of life for residents.

The municipality cultivates the seedlings, ensuring the program’s ongoing viability and sustainability. Since the project’s inception, the initiative has seen remarkable success, with over 430,000 trees planted by 2023. This effort reflects Curitiba’s commitment to environmental stewardship and proactive approach to fostering a healthier, more sustainable urban ecosystem.

50 Parks
Leveraging its 1970s green initiatives, Curitiba now boasts 94 million square meters of green space across 50 parks and woods, both public and private. This translates to 69.66 square meters of green area per inhabitant, almost sixfold the World Health Organization’s recommended amount. This significant achievement highlights Curitiba’s strong commitment to environmental preservation and enhancing its citizens’ quality of life through abundant green spaces.

Solar Panels at City Hall

Curitiba More Energy
The Curitiba City Hall’s program, “Curitiba More Energy,” launched in 2018, focuses on developing and implementing clean, renewable energy projects to reduce energy consumption, carbon emissions, and combat climate change. Aligned with the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Curitiba is also part of the C40 network, actively engaging in urban actions to mitigate climate risks.

Key initiatives include installing photovoltaic panels on public buildings, creating hydroelectric plants in parks, and establishing a photovoltaic plant on a former landfill site to generate clean energy within the city. This approach significantly reduces emissions from energy generation and transmission.

Notable projects include solar panels at bus terminals and the innovative Caximba Pyramid – a pyramid-shaped solar plant on the former Caximba landfill, operational since March 2023 with 8,600 panels, marking it as Latin America’s first solar plant atop a former landfill. Additionally, the City Hall building, the Municipal Institute of Public Administration complex, Barigui Park, and the Botanical Garden are equipped with solar panels. The city also boasts its first hydroelectric power plant on the Barigui River at Barigui Park.

Caximba New Neighborhood

The Curitiba City Hall is advancing the Caximba New Neighborhood, a Climate Risk Management Project designed to rehabilitate the environment and rehouse families living in socio-economic vulnerability along the Barigui riverside. This area, characterized by irregular settlements and environmental fragility, will benefit from comprehensive infrastructure, housing, and socio-economic development.

The project operates on two main axes. Firstly, Macro-drainage and Environmental Recovery aim to relocate 1,693 households from risk areas to new, flood-protected housing. This involves restoring the river’s ecological corridor, constructing flood basins, talus/dykes, and a macro drainage channel for flood control, delineating the environmental area, and developing a park equipped with sports and leisure facilities, bicycle paths, and a living center. It also includes socio-economic development initiatives like flower planting areas for community income generation.

Secondly, the Urban Infrastructure, Social, and Public Facilities axis focuses on providing adequate public transportation infrastructure, and essential services like sewage, water, electricity, and housing. Constructing and refurbishing facilities ensures access to education, health, and social assistance.

This significant project, financed by a €47.6 million investment from the French Agency for Development (AFD), represents a holistic approach to urban development, climate risk management, and community empowerment in Curitiba.

Family Market

Curitiba is dedicated to nurturing its citizens, offering social support and pathways to employment for an enhanced quality of life. The Secretariat for Food and Nutritional Safety manages various urban agriculture and food assistance programs to ensure accessible and affordable nutrition. One such initiative is the Family Markets, a network of 35 stores offering food, hygiene, and cleaning products at prices up to 30% lower than regular commercial outlets.

Additionally, the Fruit and Vegetable Fair provides access to 11 fairs selling produce at just US$0.75 per kilogram. These fairs offer fruits and vegetables that are about 30% cheaper than supermarkets, connecting citizens with quality, family-farmed produce.

The Solidarity Table is another critical program to support those in economic hardship and homelessness. It offers free meals to provide nourishment, dignity, and shelter to the city’s vulnerable and homeless populations. Four locations in the city serve 1,100 free meals daily. Since its inception in December 2019, the program has distributed over a million meals, underscoring Curitiba’s commitment to addressing food insecurity and supporting its most at-risk residents.

Popular Restaurant

Popular Restaurants
In Curitiba, residents can access five establishments to enjoy a nutritious meal for just US$0.60. These restaurants are subsidized by the City of Curitiba, ensuring the provision of high-quality meals that utilize food fully and efficiently. These facilities collectively serve over 4,500 meals daily, prepared by a dedicated team of cooks, assistants, nutritionists, and nutrition technicians.

Complementing this, the Curitiba Food Bank is crucial in reducing food waste and enhancing the quality of meals in social programs. It sources food from the Urban Farm, supermarkets, local markets, and street fairs. These are items still fit for consumption but may have lost commercial value, be near their expiration date, or have slight imperfections. These resources are then transformed into wholesome meals or directly distributed to those in need. Private institutions also contribute to this effort. Since its establishment in 2019, the Food Bank has successfully prevented wasting 837 tons of fruits and vegetables, supporting meal production for social programs and aiding the community.

Green Exchange

Urban Agriculture
This program encompasses the food production and food cycle chains; planting techniques; social, nutritional, and environmental education processes; food security; income generation; and improvement of social relations in an innovative and sustainable manner.

Urban Gardens
The 150 Urban Gardens initiative in Curitiba revitalizes urban voids, transforming spaces often used for garbage disposal or unsuitable for public or private construction into vibrant green areas. This program promotes sustainable food cultivation practices among residents, creating environmental zones and augmenting the city’s green spaces.

150 Urban Gardens

Urban Farm
In 2020, the Curitiba City Hall marked a significant milestone by inaugurating Brazil’s first public Urban Farm, spanning 4,435 square meters. This farm serves as a hub for innovative agricultural practices, employing renewable energy sources and the reuse of rainwater. It is a center for exploring and developing urban and local agriculture methods, offering a collaborative space for companies, startups, and universities to test and refine solutions and new technologies.

Urban Farm

Honey Gardens
The Honey Gardens initiative in Curitiba is a unique program focused on conserving and appreciating native stingless bees. This involves installing bee boxes throughout the city, creating safe havens for these bees to thrive and multiply. The program is not just about bee protection; it’s also an educational endeavor, enlightening the community, especially children, about these bees’ crucial role in our ecosystems.

Honey Gardens
Tangua Park: Curitiba has the biggest Christmas program in Brazil

In May 2024, Curitiba is set to become the global focal point of education by hosting the 17th International Congress of Educating Cities. This prestigious event, organized by the City Hall and the International Association of Educating Cities, highlights Curitiba’s commitment to educational excellence.

Lighthouse of Knowledge and Innovation

Curitiba boasts an extensive public education network, comprising 400 schools and daycare centers, serving over 140,000 full-time students. These institutions offer Brazil’s top fundamental education, enriched with innovative programs like robotics and maker culture. The Lighthouses of Knowledge and Innovation, a decentralized network of libraries with Brazil’s first public internet connection introduced in 1993, have revolutionized Curitiba’s public education.

Maker Space at Lighthouse of Innovation

In 2017, under the Pinhão Valley initiative, these spaces were transformed into the Lighthouses of Knowledge and Innovation, serving as educational and maker spaces equipped with 3D printers. These facilities, totaling 32, are designed to foster creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and social inclusion among students and teachers from municipal public schools and are also accessible to the broader community.

Curitiba’s Fab Lab

In March 2019, the Curitiba City Hall proudly opened the city’s first public Fab Lab, a cutting-edge prototype and digital fabrication laboratory. This facility is designed to be a collaborative space for the community, universities, and companies to develop and share knowledge and projects. It is a hub for fostering creativity, maker culture, and innovation within Curitiba.

The Fab Lab proved to be a crucial asset during the pandemic. In March 2020, it was temporarily repurposed to produce 30,000 face shields, providing vital protection for health professionals, frontline workers, social workers, teachers, and municipal guards engaged in the battle against COVID-19.

As a member of the expansive global network of 2,000 Fab Labs across over 149 countries, Curitiba’s Fab Lab contributes to and benefits from sharing open-source projects and integrating data and knowledge worldwide. In 2023, this commitment to collaborative innovation and community engagement was recognized when Curitiba received the Fab City Award from the Barcelona-based Fab City Foundation.

Curitiba Marathon 2023

Curitiba promotes more than 100 sports and leisure activities throughout the year. The biggest is the Curitiba Marathon, which has been organized for over 20 years and is always held in November. In 2023, this marathon saw a record 11,000 runners, and the Kids event, with the participation of the Leaves Family, attracted 10,000 children.

Social Action Foundation (FAS), created by Margarita Sansone in 1993, provides assistance for the homeless, low-income and vulnerable population. The services are decentralised, in the 10 regionals of the city, and with continuous training of its servers, improves and values the quality of services provided to the population at risk, in vulnerability or homeless people. The socio-assistance action in Curitiba includes professional training and development of entrepreneurs, with courses in several areas and integration workshops and programs of training with the Lyceums of Craft, Innovation and Creativity, First Job Program and Employtech.

Electric buses

Curitiba is under a new program of mobility and public transportation anchored with projects for the Inter 2, Inter-neighborhoods II (circular bus line) and West-East BRT bus lines lines, with financing from the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB) and the New Development Bank (NDB). These lines are the first that will receive electric vehicles, starting in 2024, with the acquisition of 70 electric buses by City Hall. The goal is that, by 2030, 33% of the fleet will operate with zero emissions, reaching 100% by 2050, as part of PlanClimate.

The Green Line North will give the city its sixth BRT corridor. The new Super Express North/South in now operating in a 38km itinerary. The city is also investing in micro-mobility, with better sidewalks to improve pedestrians’ comfort and safety and bike sharing, with a rent system with 500 bikes, half of them electric. Until 2025, Curitiba will double the length of cycleways, reaching 400 km of them.

Bike Sharing

Curitiba highly values cultural development as a driver of socio-economic progress. The city’s Cultural Foundation is tasked with implementing public policies in culture, fostering socio-cultural and artistic growth. It works closely with various artistic communities, responding to their needs, facilitating knowledge exchange, and ensuring equal opportunities for all. Since 1983, Curitiba has also been hosting the Music Festival of Curitiba, the largest of its kind in Latin America, featuring 90 workshops over 15 days.

A significant addition to Curitiba’s cultural landscape is the Digital Memorial in the historic district. This ambitious project plans to augment the Curitiba Memorial Theater with five new buildings dedicated to the arts, all infused with a digital and innovative ethos. This expansion is set to transform the entire block around the Curitiba Memorial into a vast, culturally rich, and innovative zone.

Sculptures by Joao Turin

At São Lourenço Park, the Paranista Memorial showcases Brazil’s largest outdoor Sculptures Garden exhibit, featuring 13 grand works by João Turin, a key figure in the early 20th-century artistic movement focused on celebrating the state’s identity. Turin’s sculptures, which highlight regional symbols like the pine tree, pine nut, jaguar, and azure jay, are complemented by an indoor collection of his 100 works. This venue honors Turin’s artistic legacy and serves as a cultural beacon, reflecting the area’s rich natural and cultural heritage.

Music Festival 2024

Curitiba boasts Brazil’s biggest Christmas program – free of charge – with over 100 attractions, promoted in partnership with the city’s private companies. Over 47 days, the Christmas festivities attract over 2 million people, with its concerts, plays, and decorations all over the city.

Christmas at City’s Historical Section
Christmas at Flower St.

Curitiba has positioned itself as an Intelligent Tourist Destination, backed by a program promoted by the Tourism Ministry. An essential move by the City Hall was crucial in this transformation: reducing city tax for events. This strategic decision significantly boosted Curitiba’s appeal as a venue for high-profile international shows. Consequently, the city has hosted an impressive roster of world-renowned artists and bands, including Coldplay, Metallica, Paul McCartney, Roger Waters/Pink Floyd, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Iron Maiden, Guns and Roses, Arctic Monkeys, and Eric Clapton. This initiative not only enhanced Curitiba’s standing in the global tourism and entertainment sectors but also enriched the cultural experience for both residents and visitors. In 2023, Curitiba attracted 7.4 million visitors.

Coldplay in Curitiba: big show
Curitiba Agency: Innovation as a social process

Curitiba Agency for Development and Innovation was established in 2007 by the City Hall and it has been pivotal in driving the city’s economic and technological growth, focusing on innovation, entrepreneurship and sustainability. Over the past 16 years, the Agency has emerged as a benchmark for boosting economic activity. It plays a crucial role in hosting and assisting companies looking to establish or strengthen their presence in Curitiba by providing essential technical, social, and economic information about the region.

In addition to supporting businesses, the Agency actively promotes events that contribute to the sustainable development of economic activities. It also manages strategic projects and programs defined by the Curitiba City Hall, its primary partner and stakeholder. The Agency collaborates closely with several key partners, including the Parana State Industrial Federation (Fiep), the Parana State Commercial Federation (Fecomercio), and the Parana State Federation of Commercial and Corporate Associations (Faciap), enhancing its ability to foster a dynamic and innovative economic environment in Curitiba.

Curitiba Agency team

2007 – 2010 – Juraci Barbosa Sobrinho
2011 – 2012 – Gilberto Camargo
2013 – 2016 – Gina Paladino
2017 – 2018 – Frederico Lacerda
2018 – 2023 – Cris Alessi
2023 – 2024 – Dario Paixão

Smart City Award Trophy

After decades of dedicated efforts towards becoming sustainable, humane, and accessible, Curitiba has earned the prestigious title of the Most Intelligent City in the World. This accolade and numerous other national and international awards testify to the city’s long-standing commitment to innovation and development. The recognition, highlighted by the trophy from Barcelona, reflects Curitiba’s success in creating an urban environment that not only meets the needs of its citizens but also sets a global benchmark for intelligent city planning and execution.


2nd best city in Brazil for startups (StartupBlink Report 2023);
2nd most startups in a city in Brazil (604);
3 unicorns (Ebanx, Olist, MadeiraMadeira);
Less than 2 hours to open a company;
More than 363,000 companies: 7,543 tech companies 204 mil MEIs (micro individual company)
55 institutions of higher education boasting 373,000 students.

Most Intelligent City in the World (Smart City Awards Barcelona 2023);
Most Intelligent City in Brazil (Conexis Brazil Digital 2023);
Among the 7 Most Intelligent Communities in the World (Intelligent Community Forum / ICF 2023);
2nd best city in Brazil for Entrepreneurship (Sebrae Index);
Capital with the Best Public Administration 2023 (Excelent Cities Award/Grupo Bandeirantes);
Global Government Excellence Award 2024 for the Speak Curitiba program (by United Arab Emirates Government).

The Pinhão Hub, inaugurated in March 2024 at the Curitiba Agency headquarters, is a novel collaborative and multi-sectoral space fostering connections that catalyze business, product, and technological developments. It’s an ideal destination for those pursuing entrepreneurship and innovation, emphasizing sustainability, diversity, and social impact.

Pinhão Hub offers Open Innovation Programs for companies, providing an opportunity to be a resident within the Hub. This arrangement facilitates collaborative and shared innovation, fostering a vibrant community of forward-thinking entities.

The Hub presents various affordable options for individuals and companies eager to integrate fully into the Pinhão Valley Community. With its doors now open, Pinhão Hub is a central node in Curitiba’s innovation landscape. It offers a space where ideas, businesses, and technologies can flourish in a supportive and dynamic environment.

Employtech 40+

Through its Innovation School, the Curitiba Agency for Development and Innovation is a crucial driver for entrepreneurship and business growth in the city. The school offers various support mechanisms such as entrepreneurial training, consultations, public coworking spaces, and assistance for microentrepreneurs and small businesses. Additionally, Curitiba incentivizes companies to invest in innovation and technology to stimulate the local job market.

Pinhão Valley Connections Summit
Pinhão Valley Connections Summit

Notable initiatives include the Good Business Pinhão Valley and the Woman Entrepreneur Program, offering comprehensive training, mentorship, and networking support. These programs empower citizens to enhance or start new ventures using innovative solutions and provide specialized support for women-led businesses.

Curitibana Entrepreneur Woman Award

Curitiba’s commitment to fostering entrepreneurship extends to its network of 10 Entrepreneur Spaces and Worktiba, Brazil’s first public coworking space. Worktiba provides a cost-free networking, training, and business development environment, actively supporting entrepreneurs and startups

Free coworking Worktiba

The city also runs the 1st Employtech and Employtech 40+ programs, offering free tech training to young, low-income individuals and career transition opportunities for those over 40, thus enhancing employability in the IT sector.

Paiol Digital TED Talk

The Paiol Theater, a renowned cultural landmark in Curitiba, hosts a monthly forum reminiscent of TED Talks, featuring four keynote speakers who share insights on innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship. This event is a hub for knowledge exchange and networking within the city’s vibrant ecosystem.

Annually, the Pinhão Valley Connections event elevates this concept, attracting national and international luminaries to Curitiba. These experts deliver lectures on innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship, drawing an audience of 2,000 people to Guaíra, the city’s most traditional theater. This event fosters learning and inspiration and is a significant gathering for professionals and enthusiasts in these dynamic fields.

The Invest Curitiba platform showcases the city’s economic attractiveness for business. Through the Invest website, entrepreneurs can discover, with detailed data, why Curitiba stands out as an ideal location for business operations. The portal offers comprehensive information, from available incentives for businesses setting up in Curitiba to profiles of economically potent sectors. Investors are supported by an extensive network for queries and access to up-to-date information.

Invest Curitiba also features the “Report Curitiba In Data,” a report highlighting critical indicators of the city’s economic development, workforce quality, and technological landscape.

By presenting a thriving, opportunity-rich environment, Invest Curitiba demonstrates local entrepreneurs’ potential to expand globally and fosters a conducive atmosphere for entrepreneurship and new business ventures, benefiting all stakeholders.

Key initiatives of Invest Curitiba include “Innovate Curitiba,” the first program of its kind from a Latin American city, and participation in the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona. These efforts aim to attract new investors, grow businesses, and showcase local professional talent, promoting the creative economy, job creation, and new investment opportunities.

Stand in Barcelona Smart City Expo
With Tecnoparque Program Curitiba supports the innovative and technological projects of its private companies

The Tecnoparque program, reinvigorated in 2018 under the umbrella of the Pinhão Valley, is a strategic initiative designed to boost the growth of technology and science companies and institutions in Curitiba. A vital feature of this program is the significant tax reduction on services, from 5% to 2%, for participating companies.

Tecnoparque Program
Partnership with Canada and other countries

Currently, Tecnoparque encompasses 120 companies, collectively generating over 20,000 jobs and achieving an impressive annual gross revenue of USD 2 billion. Since its relaunch, the program has facilitated over USD 63 million in investments for these companies. This financial encouragement has been instrumental in propelling the growth of the IT sector in Curitiba.

Tecnoparque Program increasing jobs at participating companies

Since 2017, with the advent of the Pinhão Valley Innovation Ecosystem, Curitiba has been at the forefront of becoming an even more innovative, smart, and sustainable city. The Pinhão Valley initiative, a Silicon Valley inspiration, is an innovative strategy to position Curitiba as a Smart City, enhancing its socio-economic development. It represents a public policy to support sustainable development and equip the city to handle instabilities, crises, or future challenges.

This movement integrates the city’s innovation ecosystem, led by the Agency, alongside various companies, universities, innovation hubs, startups, and other institutions. Pinhão Valley’s operational pillars include legislation and incentives; articulation and governance; technology; entrepreneurial education and digital transformation; and reurbanization and sustainability.

In 2019, the City Council for Innovation, Science and Technology and Innovation was created, formed by 12 members, representants from public sector, universities and private sector. The Council has a permanent technical chamber to study and propose solutions to matters presented by each sector.

The ecosystem has self-organized and established shared governance by creating three networks: Talents, Capital, and Environments. Each represents different sectors and brings together various stakeholders.

The Talent Network comprises educational institutions and companies focused on people’s training and qualifications for entrepreneurship and innovation. The Capital Network brings together credit, financing, promotion, and investment entities, including angel investors, venture capital funds, and financial institutions supporting innovation. The Environment Network comprises entities that design, enhance, and drive innovative enterprises, like makers spaces, coworkings, incubators, accelerators, and technological parks.

Each network has three facilitators who aid in self-organization and act as interfaces with the ecosystem’s general governance, ensuring a collaborative and integrated approach to fostering Curitiba’s innovative potential




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