Curitiba, Brazil


Image courtesy of Gustavo Paolo via Wikimedia commons

Image courtesy of Gustavo Paolo via Wikimedia commons

Curitiba is a fantastic case study if you are interested in urban landscapes. Curitiba is the capital city in Brazil’s state of  Paraná and is famous among urban planners for its innovation and rational development. In 1960, the Curitiba Master Plan was created, which took a different approach to urban planning by integrating layout functionality, economics, culture, and ecosystem services. In 1971 the plan was adopted, which transformed Curitiba into a model example for urban sustainability. This was formally recognized in 2010 when it was given the Global Sustainable City award.

Popular tourist attractions of Curitiba are the many parks and green spaces, which integrate environment into the urban landscape.  Curitiba is classified into the Ombrophilous Mixed Forest subtype, and around the city you may find forest, steppe and other formations. Preserving these structures within parks and green spaces gives Curitiba a sense of natural variability and safeguards a wide array of ecosystem services. Some notable ecosystem services provided by these green spaces are water and sanitation, flood control, and a source for urban agriculture.

Another point of interest for Curitiba is its low carbon footprint. Curitiba emits less carbon per capita than most Brazilian cities despite the large amount of car owners. These low emissions are primarily thanks to Curitiba’s famous public transportation system, which has carried the majority of commuter traffic throughout the last decade.

If you are interested in green roofs, green building, urban sustainability, ecological services or urban agriculture this case study will be a good candidate.


Energy/Resources:    Solar    Biofuels run public transportation    Smart Grid    Waste Collection    Hydropower and Forest 

Agriculture:    Urban Agriculture    Community Gardens

Conservation/Ecology:    Parks in Curitiba    Green Space Gets Even Bigger    Cutting Deforestation in Brazil

Society/Urban: World’s Most Sustainable Cities    Green city    Citities for People    Curitiba City Profile    Urban development Slides    Public Transport & Environmental     Curitiba Recycling    An Environmental Showcase    Biodiversity Resources    Urban Forest    A Song of The City    Sustainable Urban Living    Suicides spread through tribe

Basic Geodata

Land cover data (compatible with ArcGIS) will be provided to you in class, covering three past time periods since the 1980s. The links below will show you the approximate boundaries (as seen in Google Earth with recent years), as well as the basic changes in land cover.

view in Google Earth

view Simple Land Cover Maps

Remember, in addition to Landsat-derived land cover, there are several more auxiliary geodata sets that have already been collected for you and will be provided in lab. These data include: terrain/elevation, nightlights which represent population, floristic zones, etc. and are available at all study locations. These datasets are introduced and explained further under Additional Data Sources. In addition to these ready-to-go, prepared auxiliary datasets, this page also provides ideas for additional datasets you might find on your own.