Jaime Lerner – Guest of Honour


The organisers of Raw – New Brazilian Architecture are delighted to have as its guest of honour Jaime Lerner. One of the world’s most innovative and renowned architects and urban planners, Lerner was three times mayor of Curitiba, twice Governor of the State of Parana, he is a United Nations consultant for urban issues, and is one of the founders of Instituto Jaime Lerner, a centre created to disseminate urban management strategies.
Lerner will be heading one of the discussion tables this coming Sunday 22 June at Galeria 32, Brazilian Embassy.

Jaime Lerner
Lerner graduated in Architecture and Urban Planning from the School of Architecture of the Federal University of Parana in 1964. Responsible for the creation and structuring of the Institute of Urban Planning and Research of Curitiba (IPPUC) in 1965, he participated in the preparation of the Master Plan for Curitiba that resulted in the physical, economic and cultural transformation of the city. He was Mayor of Curitiba for three terms: 1971/75, 1979/83 and 1989/92. During his first term as mayor of Curitiba, Lerner consolidated the urban transformation and implemented the Integrated Mass Transport System, worldwide acknowledged for its efficiency, quality and low cost. In the two subsequent terms, in addition to the cutting-edge urban planning actions, Lerner intensified an encompassing program that resulted in social advances, ranking Curitiba among the capitals with the highest quality of life in the world. Elected Governor of Parana State in 1994 and re-elected in 1998, Lerner promoted the greatest economic and social transformation in its history. Supported by a successful investment attraction policy, Parana consolidated its position as the new industrial hub in the country, receiving US$ 20 billion in investments between 1995 and 2001. Emulating the successful experience of Curitiba, during his time in office Jaime Lerner tackled transport, land use, education, health, sanitation, recreation and industrialization as a whole. The developed policies resulted in Parana receiving the Child and Peace Award from the UNICEF for the “From the Street to School”, “Protecting Life” and “Teacher’s University” programs.

Curitiba masterplan

When not in public office, Jaime Lerner was intensely engaged in architecture and urban planning work. In the 60’s he and his team achieved two important awards in architecture contests: 1st  place in the National Contest for the Headquarters of the Federal Police, in Brasília – 1968, and 2nd  place in the Eurokursaal International Contest in San Sebastian, Spain – 1966. He was a member of the group of young architects who represented Brazil at the Paris Biennial Exhibition in 1969. In 1989 he was awarded the Silver Medal at the International City Design Competition promoted by the School of Architecture and Urban Planning of the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, USA. Lerner developed plans for several Brazilian cities, among which: Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Recife, Salvador, Aracaju, Natal, Goiânia, Campo, Grande and Niterói. He has also worked in Caracas (Venezuela), San Juan (Puerto Rico), Shangai (China), Havana (Cuba), Seoul (South Korea); and he is a United Nations consultant for urban issues. In addition to having presided the Brazilian Institute of Architects – IAB – Parana Chapter, he also received several state and national awards from that Institute for urban planning and architecture works. In the field of education, he is an Urban and Regional Planning professor at the Architecture and Urban Planning School at the Federal University of Parana and he was a guest professor at the University of Berkeley, California.
He is also one of the founders of Instituto Jaime Lerner, a centre created to disseminate urban management strategies. In July 2002, Lerner was elected president of International Union of Architects, for a three-year term. His main project at UIA is the program Celebration of Cities, which invites all nations and cultures of the planet to propose solutions for their cities. Since April 2003, Jaime Lerner presides the then created Jaime Lerner Associated Architects, with office in Curitiba. The company has an extensive staff of consultants and collaborators in several areas of knowledge, based on experience gained from Curitiba and other cities of Brazil and abroad.


Opera de Arame or ‘Wire Opera House’, Curitiba

Thinking outside the box:
As Mayor, Lerner employed unorthodox solutions to Curitiba’s geographic challenges. Like many cities, Curitiba is bordered by floodplain. While wealthier cities in the United States such as New Orleans and Sacramento, have chosen to build expensive, and expensive-to-maintain levee systems to build on floodplain. In contrast, Curitiba purchased the floodplain and made parks. The city now ranks among the world leaders in per-capita park area.
Curitiba had the problem of its status as a third-world city, unable to afford the tractors and petroleum to mow these parks. The innovative response was “municipal sheep” who keep the parks’ vegetation under control and whose wool funds children’s programs.
When Lerner became mayor, Curitiba had some poor neighborhoods impossible to service by municipal waste removal. The “streets” were too narrow. Rather than abandon these people, or raze these slums, Lerner began a program that traded bags of groceries and transit passes for bags of trash. The slums got much cleaner.
Similarly Curitiba has a nearby bay that was a dumping ground, and would be extremely costly to clean up. Lerner began a program that paid fishermen for any garbage they retrieved (by the pound). This way, they can fish even when it’s not the season for fish to be running and can supplement their income. The savings to Curitiba is in the millions.


One of the iconic ‘Speedy Bus’ platforms

1990: United Nations Environmental Award, awarded by the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP)
1990: Annual Prize of the International Institute for Energy Conservation (IIEC)
1991: Scroll of Honor, United Nations Human Settlements Program, 1991
1991: Tree of Learning, IUCN, 1991
1996: Child and Peace Award, UNICEF
1997: Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture, University of Virginia
2000: Prince Claus Award, the Netherlands (2000)
2001: Pioneer 2001, International Council for Caring Communities (ICCC-USA)
2001: 2001 World Technology Award for Transportation, National Museum of Science and Industry, UK

For more information go to Jaime Lerner Institute website:



2 Responses to “Jaime Lerner – Guest of Honour”

  1. Hoje aqui em Londres « Cila Schulman Says:

    […] Hoje aqui em Londres Postado no Junho 22, 2008 de cila schulman Jaime Lerner – Guest of Honour […]

  2. The Curitiba Experiment | Gunderson Planning & Design Says:

    […] time around, the initial plan was prepared by an energetic group of local professionals led by Jaime Lerner — a 27 year old local who had just graduated from architecture school. The following year, […]

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