Maringá (Portuguese pronunciation: [mɐɾiŋˈɡa]) is a municipality in southern Brazil founded on 10 May 1947 as a planned urban area. It is the third largest city in the state of Paraná, with 385,753 inhabitants in the city proper, and 764,906 in the metropolitan area (IBGE 2013). Located in northwestern Paraná, and crossed by the Tropic of Capricorn, it is a regional centre for commerce, services, agro-industries, and universities, including the State University of Maringá.
In 1925, the Northern Paraná Land Company was established in London, England and was responsible for the management of more than 500,000 acres (2,000 km2) in the northern part of the State, which today contains some of the largest cities in Paraná.
The region's fertile land encouraged São Paulo colonists to move in and acquire new areas for production of coffee beans, an important product for exportation. The northern region of Paraná encloses nearly 100 thousand km². It is watered by the Rivers Paranapanema, Paraná, Ivaí and Piquiri. The urban project requested by the British Company Improvements North of the Paraná (Melhoramentos Co.) and elaborated by the city planner Jorge Macedo Vieira, defined the outlines of the new city. Maringá was received the category of city on 14 February 1951.
The Company, worried about deforestation proceeding from the occupation foreseen in the urbanistics projects, reserved three great ecological areas within the urban limits: the Forest Horto, the Park of the Ingá and Forest II and the city was planned as a "garden city" from the beginning.
Among the various segments in the industrial sector of Maringá, there are metal-mechanics, agribusiness, textile and food companies. The industrial sector is not as expressive as agriculture, but it's growing. The city has a growing fleet that handles weaving and agribusiness, but mostly clothing. Big industries such as Cocamar, Coca-Cola, Noma, among others, foster job creation in the region, and even other cities. Metalworking industries serving the entire country and also exports to countries in Latin America a very large range of products. Maringá is the fashion hub in the south of Brazil, with the largest wholesale mall in Latin America, the Mercosul. Recently, Maringá also has been highlighted in the software market, with a consolidated APL (Local Productive Arrangements).
Paraná (Portuguese pronunciation: [paɾaˈna] ) is one of the 26 states of Brazil, in the south of the country, bordered on the north by São Paulo state, on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, on the south by Santa Catarina state and the province of Misiones, Argentina, and on the west by Mato Grosso do Sul and Paraguay, with the Paraná River as its western boundary line.
Its area is 199,307.9 km2 (76,953.2 sq mi), slightly smaller than Romania, a country with similar shape. It is subdivided into 399 municipalities. Its capital is the city of Curitiba. Other major cities are Londrina, Maringá, Ponta Grossa, Cascavel, São José dos Pinhais and Foz do Iguaçu.
Crossed by the Tropic of Capricorn, Paraná has what is left of the araucaria forest, one of the most important subtropical forests in the world. At the border with Argentina is the National Park of Iguaçu, considered by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. At only 40 km (25 mi) from there, at the border with Paraguay, the largest dam in the world was built, the Hidroelétrica de Itaipu (Itaipu Hydroelectric Dam). The crime rate is considered low by Brazilian standards and the state is one of the most developed ones in the nation.
Paraná is characterized by three climatic types: Cfa, Cfb and Cwa in the Köppen climate classification.
The Cfa climate, subtropical with good distribution of annual rainfall and hot summers, happens in both different parts of the state, the coastal plain and parts of lower altitude of the plateau, that is, in its western part. Average temperatures recorded per year is 19 °C (66 °F) and rainy index of 1,500 millimetres (59.1 in) per year, something higher elevation on the coast than inland.
The Cfb climate, subtropical with good distribution of annual rainfall and mild summers, takes place in the portion of higher elevation and covers the crystalline plateau, the paleozoico plateau and the eastern portion of the basaltic plateau. The average annual temperatures range around 17 °C (63 °F) and the rainy index reaches more than 1,200 millimetres (47.2 in) per year.
The climate Cwa, subtropical with hot summers and dry winters, has occurred in the north-western part of the state territory. It is what is called a tropical climate, because in contrast to the two described above, whose good distribution of rainfall is registered throughout the year, this has characteristic rainy index of tropical systems, with dry winters and wet summers. The thermal medium per year varies around 20 °C (68 °F) and the wet content amounts to 1 millimetre (0.0 in) to 300 millimetres (11.8 in) per year. Almost the entire state territory is subject to a great number of frost per year. Snow is a phenomenon occasionally visible in the region of Curitiba.
As of 2017, the mayor is Rafael Greca, who replaced Gustavo Fruet. The City Council of Curitiba has 38 councillors elected since 2004. Curitiba is divided into nine regional governments (equivalent to subprefecture), who manage the municipality's 75 districts. The Rua da Cidadania ("Street of Citizenship") is the symbol of administrative decentralization; it is a reference point and a meeting place. Several units are annexed to public transport terminals. Their nuclei offer services in the local, state and federal areas.
Jaime Lerner is perhaps Curitiba's best-known mayor. He has been mayor three times, the first time in the early 1970s. His leadership was crucial to some major changes in the city. Curitiba has built parks instead of canals to reduce flooding; used parks to make the city more liveable; pedestrianised the downtown area; invented and built Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), a bus system that works like a light rail system but is 10 times cheaper; and started a massive recycling scheme that included giving people bus tokens in return for waste.
Time magazine listed this former mayor among the world's most influential thinkers of 2010. In the days before free, direct elections, mayors were political appointees who were no more than pawns in the game of power politics and were subject to replacement at any time. For an idealistic young architect like Lerner, retaining the mayor's office was particularly precarious. Those holding the reins of power at the time were under the mistaken impression that Lerner's youth would make him easy to control. As it turned out, he was no milquetoast, and subsequently set about enthusiastically pursuing reform.
Curitiba's public transportation consists entirely of buses. It opened the world's first bus rapid transit (BRT) system, Rede Integrada de Transporte, in 1974. The popularity of Curitiba's BRT has effected a modal shift from automobile travel to bus travel. Based on 1991 traveler survey results, it was estimated that the introduction of the BRT had caused a reduction of about 27 million auto trips per year, annually saving about 27 million liters of fuel. In particular, 28 percent of BRT riders previously traveled by car. Compared to eight other Brazilian cities of its size, Curitiba uses about 30 percent less fuel per capita, resulting in one of the country's lowest rates of ambient air pollution. Some 1,100 buses make 12,500 trips every day, serving more than 1.3 million passengers, 50 times the number from 20 years ago. Eighty percent of travelers use the express or direct bus services. Curitibanos spend only about 10 percent of their income on travel, much below the national average.
The city government has been planning to introduce an underground metro for a number of years and in 2014 announced opened tenders for a 35-year public private partnership contract to build and operate a 17.6-kilometre (10.9-mile), 14-station north-south line. The cost is estimated at 4.62 billion reais.