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Ludwig Center Students Report on how Innovations in One South American City Can Help Alleviate Problems of Urban Growth

Across the globe, urban growth is occurring at an unprecedented rate and scale. In 2008, the percentage of the world population residing in cities reached 50 percent. By 2050, an estimated 70 percent of the global population will live in urban centers. Urbanization produces tremendous benefits, among them increased economic activity, technological and scientific innovation, and cultural diversity. Unfortunately, explosive growth also comes with significant costs, including but not limited to unprecedented sprawl, congestion, carbon emissions, and economic inequality.

Hanna-Ruth Gustafsson ’12 and Elizabeth Kelly ’12 examine urbanization in a report they produced as part of their work in the Eugene and Carol Ludwig Center for Community & Economic Development. They explore how innovations developed in Curitiba, Brazil, can be applied to help growing metropolises address the interrelated challenges of urban growth. Curitiba exemplifies how the integration of creative land use planning, transportation infrastructure, and environmental sustainability efforts can enable a city to meet the needs of its expanding population and mitigate the negative effects of urban growth. Its lessons and policies – particularly its transportation network, parks system, and recycling program – are primed for export and increasingly relevant in this age of emerging mega cities and mega regions.

The authors are recent graduates of Yale Law School and long-term veterans of the Community & Economic Development Clinic. At the conclusion of the summer, Gustafsson will be an associate at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP in New York City. Kelly will be Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Read the report, Urban Innovations in Curitiba: A Case Study.