This was an amazingly uplifting documentary to watch. A Convenient Truth is about a city in Brazil called Curitiba, which is one of the most livable cities in the world. They look at various aspects of the city and show how they made them not only environmentally friendly and people friendly but also without using much money. Their ideas have since been used in various cities around the world.
I won’t go into great detail but here is summary of some of the things I remember. The public transport system uses buses, which have their own dedicated lanes. This results in a bus stopping at the bus stops every minute (in the CBD). It’s the quickest way to get around so 60% of the people travel only by public transport. The municipality pays people who live in the favelas (like our townships) for their (separated into recyclable and non) refuse with bus tickets. This has resulted in the whole city being cleanup up by people collecting refuse to hand in for bus tickets. They also employ homeless people to sort the recyclables which are then compacted and sold. The money is used to pay the homeless people and provide them with education and training so that they can find proper employment.
Areas which were subject to heavy flooding on a regular basis were converted into parks and the poor that lived there were paid to relocate. The money was recuperated from the increased taxes on the properties around the park as they increased in value due to the fact that they now overlooked a park and not a squatter camp. There were also some brilliant initiatives to do with low cost housing and employment.
A very positive and uplifting documentary. It’s good to see that it can be done, at the end the audience broke into applause. I would recommend you try and see it. You will find the Earthnotes documentary festival schedule here.