By focusing on certain "pressure points" in urban areas, a city can dramatically increase its quality of life, argues Jaime Lerner, the former mayor of Curitiba, Brazil.
"Lerner is best known for his efforts to introduce BRT to the world, after launching the first successful rapid bus system in Curitiba in the 1970s. He now heads his own architecture and urban planning firm. 'We have to use everything we have' to make transportation, a significant emitter of greenhouse gases, more pleasant and sustainable, he told participants at Wednesday's briefing. The key to future mobility, Lerner believes, is not necessarily to get rid of cars, but to ensure that the many forms of transport currently available-bus, rail, cars, walking, and biking-are not competing for the same space."
Lerner noted that even the poorest cities can boost their standards of living by using techniques like bus rapid transit (BRT), designing multiuse buildings, and encouraging residents to live closer to their workplaces. Although many cities spend decades building underground rail systems or other costly long-term projects, 'Every city can improve its quality of life in 3 to 4 years,' Lerner asserted.