Sunday, January 24, 2010

Houston Versus Curitiba

I think I’ve finally decided on who to vote for in the Mayoral race. As an architect I was always supposed to vote for Peter Brown – it’s just expected of us. The more I think about it, the more I think I’ll do my duty.

We architects are creative, and creativity can do great things for a City. Consider how architect-mayor Jamie Lerner revolutionized Curitiba Brazil. The first thing he did as mayor in 1972 was to close a downtown road to cars. Businesses fought him at first, until they saw how many new customers it brought in. Subways are all the rage in Brazil, but Curitiba built the world’s first Bus Rapid Transit system (BRT). The city also created green areas and recycling programs decades before they came into vogue. In the 1980s, Curitiba was the “ecological capital of Brazil.”

Houston can’t continue with business as usual. And we can’t just copy things like Smart Growth and New Urbanism. We need solutions that are creative, and uniquely Houstonian. Who better than an architect to come up with this kind of answer? It worked in Curitiba.

Oh yeah, and The New York Times picked up on Houston’s race for Mayor. An interesting read.

1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), my fellow architect Peter Brown did not win the race for mayor of Houston. Congratulations to Annise Parker for becoming the first openly gay mayor of one of America's four largest cities! More importantly, congratulations to Houston for electing her!