Curitiba voted the most sustainable city in the world

Sheila Zabeu -

November 07, 2023

Curitiba won the international World Smart City Awards, in the Cities category, which recognizes pioneering projects, ideas and strategies that make cities around the world more liveable, sustainable and economically viable. The award is part of the Smart City Expo World Congress (SCEWC), an event held in Barcelona, Spain, between November 7 and 9.

The capital of Paraná won for its public policies, actions and smart urban planning programs aimed at socio-economic growth and environmental sustainability using a human-centered approach.

Mayor Rafael Greca received the top prize at the World Smart City Awards in the Spanish city. In addition to Curitiba, the finalists in the “Cities” category of the World Smart City Awards 2023 were Barranquilla (Colombia), Izmir (Turkey), Makati (Philippines), Cascais (Portugal) and Sunderland (England). The mayor also took part in the C40 Mayors’ Meeting on the second day of the Smart City Expo World Congress 2023, which discussed how to secure popular support for transformative measures that prioritize people over cars.

According to the competition organizers, a record 411 candidates from 63 countries competed in the 2023 edition. This year, there was also a special award for Leaders in recognition of efforts to boost urban innovation internationally. The winners were Anna Lisa Boni, deputy mayor of Bologna and secretary general of Eurocities from 2014 to 2021, and Claudio Orrego, governor of the Santiago de Chile metropolitan region.

Curitiba’s main initiatives

Created in 2017, Vale do Pinhão is one of the movements that make up the Curitiba innovation ecosystem and that helped the city receive the international award. Its main actions include the City of Startups program. Three of the startups are considered unicorns, i.e. companies with a market value of over US$ 1 billion. There are also incentives for entrepreneurship and programs to promote first jobs in technology and opportunities for professionals over 40.

Another movement is Curitiba’s Solar Pyramid, the first photovoltaic plant installed on a deactivated landfill in Latin America. In six months of operation, the installations have generated around 2,000 MWh (megawatt hours), resulting in savings of R$1.1 million for the city’s public coffers.

One of the projects aimed at recovering the urban environment is Bairro Novo da Caximba, which is replacing irregular stilt houses with a smart community for almost 1,700 families in an environmentally preserved area.

Curitiba’s public transport is in the testing phase for electric buses, which are due to start operating in 2024. The city already has a fleet of electric vehicles in the Municipal Guard and among cabs. The city offers 500 shared bicycles, mechanical and electric, activated by app.

With a view to encouraging the digital inclusion of citizens, Curitiba also has a free public Wi-Fi network with 310 points in the city. There is also a public coworking space, Worktiba, with three units to house early-stage companies.

Among the digital resources offered to the city are e-Citizen, access to 36 digital applications to request city hall services; the new city hall website to issue invoices, consult and issue IPTU and Active Debt slips, among other services; and the Online Agenda to make an appointment for face-to-face services.

In addition, Curitiba claims to have reduced the time it takes to open a new business to an average of two hours in recent years, as a result of the integration of digital services. Over the last six years, the city government has also multiplied locations that encourage innovative thinking and a “do it yourself” culture.

In the field of 5G, Curitiba modernized the laws regulating the installation of cell phone antennas in the city in 2019, with a view to speeding up the adoption of the technology. It was one of the first capitals in the country to receive a signal from the new internet data transmission technology in 2022.

Curitiba is also developing the Hipervisor platform to act as the “smart brain of the city” and allow the convergence of data for monitoring, analysis and prevention of occurrences in different areas.

Since 2018, Curitiba has hosted the Brazilian version of Smart City Expo, an event about smart cities, which in its fourth edition, in March 2023, had 15,000 participants. The next edition will take place between March 20 and 22, 2024.