Workshops and Projects » Urban Intersections Curitiba » Parking a bike in Curitiba



Gabriel Jacobi
PatrÜ­cia Kojima
Marcel Pace
Parking a bike in Curitiba: Final Presentation

Initial Position

Curitiba is well known in Brazil for being one of the top cycling friendly cities in the world.

Well, that was our starting point. But several researches that we made while we were focused on this topic revealed some quite interesting and different aspects of Curitiba.

Our city is famous for it's organization, infrastructures and urban planning and solution made in a "subdeveloped" country. Somehow our bicycle system managed to get a little bit famous also, what in the end showed to be not that true (something that our urban bikers always knew).

To understand mobility in Curitiba it's necessary to understand our context: where did we came from, and who the hell are we? Curitiba really started when groups from Poland and Ukraine came to Brazil, joined later by several other european nationalities (being one of the coldest city and the coldest capital of our country helped). That gives us a little bit different cultural background, being a little bit more organized and a little bit more reserved people than in other brazilian cities. A little bit, because the best answer for "who we are" is, in the end, brazilian. 
And the whole brazilian mobility system was, since the beginning of the 20th century, heavily influenced by the north american system. Huge avenues, car based mobility and an inefficient or inexistent train system led us to poor public transportation combined with a huge area to cover for them - our cities grew to large proportions! As the common sense says that a big house and a car is the best thing you could ever have (hail the "american dream"), the mobility problem in the city arose in the the last years with great magnitude.
As we have several options for what to do with cars, and more specifically, how and where to park them, bicycles have never been the center of the attention here in Brazil, regarding to our politics and laws toward traffic, regarding to our people and cities toward mobility, and most important, regarding our culture.

In this context, we asked ourselves: how can a biker survive here, and how can they park their bike in this mobility chaos that Curitiba and all the other brazilian cities are compared to other cities?
Although our laws and codes consider it as a vehicle (even though not clearly enough), our culture don't. 70% of our bikers use it to go to work, but our 250 km of cycleways connects parks to other parks. We look at it as a sport and a leisure activity more than a way of transportation. And if we dare to defy this system, if we decide to ride our bike here we have to face all this lack of structure, safety and, most curiously, all the social barriers that walks together with this decision.

How do people really cycle in Curitiba? Which infrastructure is provided and how do people interact with it? What are the issues concerning safety and laws? How is the relationship between bicycles, cars and pedestrians? How our culture influences it and our decisions are influenced by it, and how society look up to this subject?


Item Overview

#126 Improvised in the street

In the center of the city, some people use the bicycle as an alternative for avoiding the chaotic traffic. But, they face a lot of trouble when parking the bike is necessary, for there are few parking spots scattered through the city - mostly on parks or big buildings like an University. The solution found is improvising by the use of traffic signs, light poles and even phone booths as an alternative... more

16 Jun 2010 by Gabriel Jacobi

#128 At the university

The observation took place in the parking spot at the central campus from the University. There are private guards hired by the University to take care of the place as a whole more

16 Jun 2010 by Gabriel Jacobi

#146 Negotiating a spot

Brazil is a very car oriented country and Curitiba ain't an exception. The number of cars is growing exponentially and there are not enough park spaces on the street. This gave birth to the private parking spaces: with a variable cost per hour, they have a space where they will keep your car safe. Thie is very common at the center of the city, where sometines there are 5 parking spaces on the same block! more

17 Jun 2010 by

#134 Improvised and formal inside a residential building

Most of the residential buildings do have a bicycle park for the residents, located inside the garages. more

17 Jun 2010 by Gabriel Jacobi

#135 Improvised and formal inside a park

This observation was made inside a traditional park downtown in Curitiba. It's a place where eldery people come to play cards. There is also a police station inside the park. more

17 Jun 2010 by Gabriel Jacobi