Brazilian architect and urban planner Jaime Lerner, who helped develop the ‘rapid bus’ (BRT) system that changed the face of public transport in cities around the world, died Thursday. He was 83 years old.
Lerner rose to prominence in the 1970s when he was elected mayor of his hometown of Curitiba, a city in southern Brazil, and launched an ambitious plan to overhaul the transportation system.
BRT is based on the idea that buses – transporting the poor in many places – can operate with the speed and capacity of much more expensive metro systems to build, using dedicated lanes, a priority for buses to intersections and innovative buses stop the design.
Under Lerner, Curitiba deployed what would become a model for cities around the world, the Integrated Transport Network.
Its vertebrae are its iconic tubular bus stops, with raised platforms that allow passengers to get on and off with ease and a prepayment system to maximize efficiency.
It has been imitated in more than 250 cities including Bogota, Brisbane, Johannesburg and Marrakech.
Lerner is also remembered for making Curitiba a model of sustainable planning, creating many green spaces and an advanced recycling program.
He served three terms as mayor (1971-1974, 1979-1983 and 1989-1992), and two as governor of the State of Parana, of which Curitiba is the capital (1995-2002).
Between the two, he wrote many books on town planning.
In 2010, Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Lerner died of chronic kidney disease, Mackenzie Evangelical University Hospital said.
His death comes four days after that of another iconic Brazilian architect, Paulo Mendes da Rocha, 92, who won the 2006 Pritzker Prize, considered the Nobel Prize for architecture.
© 2021 AFP