Warm for the cold people
Social relations among people of Curitiba has been subject to researchs for many years. People in this city tend to have a different behavior than other parts of Brazil. This is clearly perceived by any visitor, as in general, most shows signals of shyness and embarrassment at any simple talk. Locals define themselves as "cold people" and they are conscious about that, but you will probabily experience some difficulty in communication there. This doesn't mean in any matter locals are not good people, rude or not friendly, that's just a fact they are less open-hearted than brazilians from other places. Maybe this is the most european thing in this place, as their behavior seems to be the same as some parts of europe [probabily because of their european ancestry, mostly polish, ukrainian an german origins].
When there, do not expect people going to talk with you at all. Be ready to take the initiative, all the times. Their shyness is an obstacle to any initiative, but once you take some, generally they reveal a more friendly side. At the same time people are "closed", they will appreciate this warmer behavior from others. Don't be shy to talk to people in any place, such stores, supermarkets and even in the street or city buses. Sometimes you can think there's some rule that ordinary talks are prohibited, as many public places are totally quiet, you hear no voices. But that's just local customs, just shyness. Many people from other places who come to live in Curitiba feel very unconfortable with this, but once you get used to, be ready to have a good time there.
One of the best japanese kitchen in town.
This restaurant is located in one calm neighborhood called Agua Verde. Its is not a big place, but very typical and its dishes are definitely very good, since you can find japanese almost every evening eating there.
If you like real good japanese sushis, sashimis, yakisobas, etc... you have to try it.
"Ecological Capital of Brazil"
Curitiba was founded in the 17th century as a gold-mining camp and its population was American Indian and Portugues. The capital of the state became in 1854. It is said that Curitiba is barely Brazilian city at all since its inhabitants are descendants of Polish, German, Italian and Ukrainian immigrants that arrived in the city during the 19th and early 20th century.
It is the capital of the southern state of Parana and one of the most prosperous and organized cities in Brazil. Curitiba has become renowned for its innovative urban solutions, especially the public transit system, and win a UNESCO prize for its urban development. The city is also known as the ecological capital of Brazil. Curitiba has 26 parks of well-preserved environment with rich and diversified flora and fauna.
Curitiba is a Brazilian reference when theatre and classic music matters. It has several theatres and places for artistic performances. Universidade Federal do Parana - UFPR (Federal University of Parana) is the oldest Brazilian university, established in 1912. This Brazilian metropolis was in 2003 nominated as the American Capital of Culture.
If you are heading for Iguaçu Falls (or Buenos Aires as I did) from Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo, it's worth stopping by for a day or two - thoug you'll most probably end up staying longer as the city is really fascinating.
Curitiba and its visionary mayor
"curitiba life style"
Residents of Curitiba, Brazil, think they live in the best city in the world, and a lot of outsiders agree. Curibita has 17 new parks, 90 miles of bike paths, trees everywhere, and traffic and garbage systems that officials from other cities come to study. Curibita's mayor for twelve years, Jaime Lerner, has a 92 per cent approval rating.
Curibita's secret, insofar that it has one, seems to be simple willingness from the people at the top to get their kicks from solving problems.
Those people at the top started in the 1960s with a group of young architects who were not impressed by the urban fashion of borrowing money for big highways, massive buildings, shopping malls and other showy projects. They were thinking about the environment and about human needs. They approached Curibita's mayor, pointed to the rapid growth of the city and made a case for better planning.
The mayor sponsored a contest for a Curibita master plan. He circulated the best entries, debated them with the citizens, and then turned the people's comments over to the upstart architects, asking them to develop and implement a final plan.
Jaime Lerner was one of these architects. In 1971 he was appointed mayor by the then military government of Brazil.
Given Brazil's economic situation, Lerner had to think small, cheap and participatory - which was how he was thinking anyway. He provided 1.5 million tree seedlings to neighbourhoods for them to plant and care for. ('There is little in the architecture of a city that is more beautifully designed than a tree,' says Lerner.)
He solved the city's flood problems by diverting water from lowlands into lakes in the new parks. He hired teenagers to keep the parks clean.
He met resistance from shopkeepers when he proposed turning the downtown shopping district into a pedestrian zone, so he suggested a thirty-day trial. The zone was so popular that shopkeepers on the other streets asked to be included. Now one pedestrian street, the Rua das Flores, is lined with gardens tended by street children.
Another Lerner innovation was to organise the street vendors into a mobile, open-air fair that circulates through the city's neighbourhoods.
Concentric circles of local bus lines connect to five lines that radiate from the centre of the city in a spider web pattern. On the radial lines, triple-compartment buses in their own traffic lanes carry three hundred passengers each. They go as fast as subway cars, but at one-eightieth the construction cost.
The buses stop at Plexiglas tube stations designed by Lerner. Passengers pay their fares, enter through one end of the tube, and exit from the other end. This system eliminates paying on board, and allows faster loading and unloading, less idling and air pollution, and a sheltered place for waiting - though the system is so efficient that there isn't much waiting. There isn't much littering either. There isn't time.
Curitiba's citizens separate their trash into just two categories, organic and inorganic, for pick-up by two kinds of trucks. Poor families in squatter settlements that are unreachable by trucks bring their trash bags to neighbourhood centres, where they can exchange them for bus tickets or for eggs, milk, oranges and potatoes, all bought from outlying farms.
The trash goes to a plant (itself built of recycled materials) that employs people to separate bottles from cans from plastic. The workers are handicapped people, recent immigrants, alcoholics.
Recovered materials are sold to local industries. Styrofoam is shredded to stuff quilt for the poor. The recycling programme costs no more than the old landfill, but the city is cleaner, there are more jobs, farmers are supported and the poor get food and transportation. Curitiba recycles two-thirds of it garbage - one of the highest rates of any city, north or south.
"Three decades of thoughtful city planning"
The city of Curitiba provides the world with a model in how to integrate sustainable transport considerations into business development, road infrastructure development, and local community development.
Curitiba first outlined its Master Plan in 1965, with the main goals of limiting central area growth and encouraging commercial and service sector growth along two structural north-south transport arteries, radiating out from the city center. The Master Plan also aimed to provide economic support for urban development through the establishment of industrial zones and to encourage local community self-sufficiency by providing all city districts with adequate education, health care, recreation, and park areas.
The plan called for the integration of traffic management, transportation, and land-use planning to achieve its goals, and maintained flexibility in its regulations to allow for different future development scenarios.
The Master Plan established the guiding principle that mobility and land use can not be disassociated with each other if the city's future design is to succeed. In order to fulfill the goals of the Master Plan in providing access for all citizens, the main transport arteries were modified over time to give public transport the highest priority.
Each of the five arteries contains one two-way lane devoted exclusively to express buses. This inner lane is flanked on either side by 1) a local access lane for cars and 2) a high-capacity one-way route for use by both cars and buses. Separating traffic types and establishing exclusive bus lanes on the city's predominant arteries helped to mold two defining characteristics of the city's transport system: a safe, reliable, and efficient bus service operating without the hazards and delays inherent to mixed-traffic bus service; and densification of development along the bus routes.
About 1,100 buses make 12,500 trips per day, serving 1.3 million passengers. Five different types of buses operate in Curitiba:
Express buses operate exclusively on the arteries' dedicated busways.
"Rapid" buses operate on both the arteries and on other main streets throughout the city, and their routes are changed to respond to demand. These buses stop at tube-shaped stations designed for protection from the weather and for quick bus entry and exit. They also accommodate the handicapped.
A new "bi-articulated" bus, introduced in December, 1992, is a form of rapid bus operating on the outside high-capacity lanes. Bi-articulated buses - the largest in the world - are actually three buses attached by two articulations, and are capable of carrying 270 passengers.
"Inter-district" buses bring passengers between the city's sectors lying between the arteries, and thus provide a crucial link between the routes of the express and bi-articulated buses.
Finally, "feeder" buses mix with traffic on all other city streets and bring passengers to transfer stations called "District Terminals," around which local urban development and commercial activity has flourished.
Curitiba's buses are privately-owned by ten companies, managed by a quasi-public company. With this public-private collaboration, public sector concerns (e.g. safety, accessibility, and efficiency) are combined private sector goals (e.g. low maintenance and operating costs). The bus companies receive no subsidies; instead all mass transit money collected goes to a fund and companies are paid on a distance travelled basis.