27 mars 2012

A convenient truth

Curitiba in Brazil is a city with limited resources but with great resourcefulness!
To battle the problem of floodings, but without the finances to build dams, they built beautiful parks. Not only did this take care of the flooding issues but it improved the lives of the people previously living in favelas around these problematic areas. These people were payed to move to other areas with better quality housing increasing their living standard. This was payed for by the increased land prices around the parks, increased taxes were taken out and the parks opened up for new businesses to start up. It turned out that this approach was five times more profitable than building dams and embankments.
The government of Curitiba was the first city in Brazil to encourage and actually implement a recycling programme in the favelas bringing about a much cleaner and healthier environment. Four men, including the engineer, built a factory that separated the recyclable trash and sold it to private businesses. They employed recovering drug addicts and illiterates and as the business boomed cut work hours to four hours a day but paying them full-time wages. This way they could employ more people. However, not only did people work four hours for full-time pay but a bonus could be given if you got further involved by eg. staying updated in current events (reading the paper) or exercise. I'm not joking. They get paid to exercise!

Sounds too good to be true? Nope, have a look for yourself, watch A Convenient Truth: Urban Solutions from Curitiba, Brazil. (doc)

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