It was seemingly the least likely place to enact progressive planning policies: a mid-sized regional capital in Brazil. Yet Mayor Jaime Lerner did precisely that in Curitiba, a landlocked city of 3 million, located a six-hour drive southwest of São Paulo.
Lerner, who died on May 27 at the age of 83, according to the Wall Street Journal, trained as an architect and worked as Curitiba’s first planning director before getting elected as mayor in 1971. He held that position three times before being elected governor of the province, Paraná, in 1994; he was reelected to the governorship in 1998.
Among Lerner’s most notable innovations in office were the implementation of a bus rapid transit system and the use of sheep to maintain the grass in public parks.