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“Nova Caximba”: new planning strategy for Curitiba’s informal settlement
New Town Lab Curitiba

INTI was in Curitiba, Brazil during December 4-8 for a New Town Lab that developed a future scenario for the city’s southern informal settlement Caximba. Curitiba, a middle-sized city located in the south of Brazil, is known as a textbook example of good urban planning due to amongst others its cheap and high-quality public transport system with buses and dedicated bus lanes, its extensive green spaces and its waste management system. But aside from all the good planning examples, Curitiba is like many cities in the Global South facing the problems of rapid urbanization, such as increasing homelessness and the development of informal settlements.

Key urban challenges

The Caximba informal settlement lies in the Barigui Basin at the crossing of the Barigui and Iguazu rivers. Addressing the risk of flooding and controlling urbanization along the borders of the Environmental Protection Area (APA) of Barigui are key concerns for the city, as well as improving the area’s social security, mobility and public space.

Rethinking Curitiba

In the ‘Nova Caximba’ strategy the existing green structures are the starting points, using the flood zones for water-management, adding bike and slow traffic paths where these areas meet the city, thereby creating a border for urban expansion while making the green areas more accessible. Between these natural borders a robust urban grid, based on a sites & services model, incorporates evenly the existing informal settlement. The mixed-use plots contain affordable housing, collective spaces and areas for agriculture. Community involvement is supported by urban agriculture, self-construction programmes for housing, and by three multifunctional community centres at the intersection of transportation routes and natural areas. These include libraries, healthcare, sports facilities and administrative centres, as well as local markets.

The interdisciplinary design team

The strategy is the result of a close collaboration between IPPUC (Curitiba’s planning department) and the INTI team which included Marco Vermeulen (Studio Marco Vermeulen), Martin Sobota (Cityförster), Rodrigo Bandini dos Santos (Mecanoo), Jorn Konijn (INTI) and Simone Rots (INTI). Additional input was given by the Mayor and by the Popular Housing Company of Curitiba (Cohab-CT). IPPUC’s president emphasized the project’s importance for beginning the process of developing this sensitive area.

- More about the planning workshop (via IPPUC’s website, in Portuguese)



- More about the planning workshop (via IPPUC’s website, in Portuguese)