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Has South America's Most Sustainable City Lost Its Edge?

Brazil's Curitiba was once a model of sustainable planning. Now, it's struggling with a slew of urban problems.
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Mathieu Struck/Flickr

The southern Brazil metropolis of Curitiba built its reputation as an urban planning model thanks, in large part, to its innovative transportation system. But in recent years, the system has become overcrowded and expensive, pushing people into their cars.

Curitiba is now the Brazilian state capital with the highest ratio of automobiles per inhabitant, and its bike paths remain largely underused. In early June, news reports revealed that usage of its famous Bus Rapid Transit system has decreased by 14 million rides in the past four years, or 4.3 percent. This followed a series of road accidents involving speeding buses, and complaints about ever-increasing fare prices.