Q&A with Jaime Lerner, former mayor of Curitiba, Brazil and governor of Paraná
This is the fifth in a series of Q&As conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit and commissioned by the United Nations Foundation to explore advancements towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), that is, the 17 UN-backed objectives that more than 190 countries agreed to prioritise in 2015. These targets include improving infrastructure, education, health and industrial innovation, as well as reducing environmental degradation.
Here The EIU interviews Jaime Lerner, former mayor of Curitiba and governor of Paraná about infrastructure development as a driver of social and economic change. As a well-known architect, urban planner and three-time mayor of Curitiba, Brazil, Mr Lerner is credited with reinventing the city into one of the world’s most environmentally friendly metropolitan areas. With an emphasis on public-use infrastructure, Mr Lerner replaced congested roadways with pedestrian thoroughfares and efficient, affordable bus routes that shuttle more than 2m riders a day. He is credited with establishing innovative programmes, such as recycling services in the city’s favelas, that helped foster public buy-in for environmental initiatives. Mr Lerner also served twice as governor of Paraná and facilitated widespread social and economic transformation of urban and rural areas in the state.
Mr Lerner is the former president of the International Union of Architects. He has received the United Nations Environmental Award (1990), the UNICEF Child and Peace Award (1996), the World Technology Award for Transportation (2001) and the Sir Robert Matthew Prize for the Improvement of Quality of Human Settlements (2002).