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Original article published in Portugues in IDEAÇAO Blog on 09/01/2020
Curitiba’s urban planning contributed substantially to the development of the municipality. The city is considered one of the three capitals with the best infrastructure in the country and has high living conditions, which is reflected in the wide coverage of public services and the high level of Municipal Human Development (HDI-M 2000), which from 1991 to 2000, jumped from 0.799 to 0.856, the best in Paraná, ranking 16th among the 5,561 Brazilian municipalities.
Despite the positive data, over the years, the city faced growth problems, common in the medium and large cities of Brazil, limiting the supply of infrastructure and public services to meet all the demand and generating a series of problems related to urban conditions, and mobility, such as:
- Reduction on road traffic flow of the highway due to the accelerated increase in the number of vehicles, which in 2007 exceeded one million and grew 46% compared to what was recorded in 2000,
- Traffic congestion or traffic jams affected public transport service, which in turn cannot meet demand,
- The growth of informal neighborhoods in some areas of the city and in the metropolitan area do not count –or have limited access– to public services. In 2002, Curitiba had approximately 40,400 households in favelas (7.5% of all households), of which only 15% had wastewater treatment and,
- The expansion of social assistance facilities and services required to satisfy its citizens and improve the living conditions of the population.
To solve these issues, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in association with the municipality, designed in 2008 a program with the objective of improving the living conditions of the population, through strategic projects in informal urbanization areas, urban mobility and social development. Between 2009 and 2018, the IDB had the opportunity to closely monitor Curitiba, through the Integrated Program for Social and Urban Development – PROCIDADES Curitiba.
The lessons learned from the results of the PROCIDADES Curitiba Program can serve as an example for other municipalities that are looking for other ways to improve their urban organization needed to face the problems caused by accelerated population growth. Here are some observations and lessons learned over the years:
- Diagnosis and indicators to measure long-term impacts:
During the preparation of the program, a series of problems were identified, such as the reduction of road flow, traffic congestion and its impact on public transport services, the disorderly growth of informal neighborhoods and the need to expand the social assistance and services to its citizens.
The indicators were re-evaluated to measure the effectiveness of the program and its possible progress, in order to facilitate new decision-making based on a matrix of results that measured: (i) Curitiba’s quality of life index; (ii) the valuation of 80% of properties in intervention areas; (iii) the increase in the average speed of vehicles and automobiles of the public transport service on the roads of the representative sample; (iv) reduction of operating costs for public transport service vehicles and automobiles on the roads of the representative samples.
A cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis of several of the interventions was carried out, which helped to render the population accountable. In most cases, it was found that the interventions carried out were achieved with less than the original budgeted investments. This determined that the final results can be more effective and costs can be minimized or better distributed if pre-feasibility analysis are done at the beginning of future projects.
- Alignment with sector plans:
The design of the program was carried out in accordance with the Curitiba Master Plan and other specific interventions in order to continue the investments that the municipality was carring through since the last decade. Specifically, the program focused on the priorities identified in the five sector plans of the Master Plan: housing, mobility and transport, sustainable, social and economic development.
Studies and interventions prior to the program and which were carried out previously by the Municipality, were integrated into this new program with the IDB, which included the issue of informal neighborhoods and the construction of housing for the low-income population. Additionally, two IDB-financed programs were implemented for urban mobility works carried out at IDB II, in accordance with the strategy envisaged in the Master Plan.
- Team dedicated to program management
Each city is responsible for monitoring, managing, and implementing the program. In the case of Curitiba, the Technical-Administrative Management Unit (UTAG) was the coordinator of the activities to implement the components of the IDB PROCIDADES, currently linked to the Institute of Research and Urban Planning of Curitiba (IPPUC). UTAG was responsible for the control and monitoring actions of the stages of the project and execution of the works, as well as for the general administration of the contract, with the task of establishing the interface between the municipality and the Bank and representing the municipal sectors involved in the program.
As a result of the program’s success, UTAG is now part of the Municipality of Curitiba and acts as a management unit for integrated development programs financed by the Bank, the Caixa Econômica Federal and the French Development Agency (AFD), among others.
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