The challenges we face in the 21st century are global in nature. Yet it often seems like we are woefully ill-equipped to address issues such as poverty, violence, security or public health with our large-scale political institutions. In this bold talk, Benjamin Barber suggests that we should transition away from nation states towards a system […]Continue reading
Why you should listen
For many city governments seeking visible improvements in their congested streets, the pace of change is measured in months and years. For Jaime Lerner, it's measured in hours. As mayor of Curitiba, he transformed a gridlocked commercial artery into a spacious pedestrian mall over a long weekend, before skeptical merchants had time to finish reading their Monday papers.
Since then he's become a hero not only to his fellow Brazilians, but also to the growing ranks of municipal planners seeking greener, more sustainable cities. His dictum that "creativity starts when you cut a zero from your budget" has inspired a number of his unique solutions to urban problems, including sheltered boarding tubes to improve speed of bus transit; a garbage-for-food program allowing Curitibans to exchange bags of trash for bags of groceries; and trimming parkland grasses with herds of sheep.
In addition to serving three terms as mayor of Curitiba, Lerner has twice been elected governor of Parana State in Brazil. His revolutionary career in urban planning and architecture has not only improved cities worldwide, but has also brought him international renown. Among his many awards are the United Nations Environmental Award (1990), the Child and Peace Award from UNICEF (1996), and the 2001 World Technology Award for Transportation.
What others say
“Lerner is a longtime proponent of what might be called "blitz urbanism": the rapid, workable improvement that does an end run on bureaucrats and doubters” — Justin Davidson, Newsday
Jaime Lerner’s TED talk
More news and ideas from Jaime Lerner
The National Academies’ “Grand Challenges for Engineering” list, released yesterday, runs down the 14 most pressing issues we must face in the 21st century. Creating access to clean water … restoring our cities … engineering new medicines and new ways of providing care … the list is vast and inspiring. Look on the Next Steps […]Continue reading
With maverick flair and a strategist’s disdain for accepted wisdom, Jaime Lerner re-invented urban space in his native Curitiba, Brazil. He talks about how to revolutionize bus transit, awaken green consciousness in a populace accustomed to litter and blight, and change the way city planners and bureaucrats worldwide conceive what’s possible within the tangled structure […]Continue reading