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14 de September de 2018Fortaleza: The face of urban transformation
1img - Fortaleza: The face of urban transformation

The city is experiencing structural improvements in the areas of urban infrastructure, public safety, creation of jobs and sources of income, while strengthening the tourism sector.

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Fortaleza is the fourth largest city in Brazil, with 2.5 million inhabitants. Like any other large city in Latin America, it faces complex urban challenges, particularly related to urban mobility, violence, unemployment, social inequalities and investment difficulties. 

But for the past six years, a number of initiatives are helping this tourist town overcome some of the common problems facing other cities of similar size and economy. Today, improvements in urban spaces are evident, and there have been significant improvements in public safety, job creation and the articulation of the tourism sector. The key to success is understanding the urban development as a whole, and placing citizens at the core of all initiatives. 

There are several stakeholders—led by local authorities—that have enabled the extraordinary improvements in the city. CAF-development bank of Latin America-, for example, has provided support through funding, for US$ 350 million, for three major urban development initiatives. 

The first, a $49-million urban drainage program implemented in 2011, improved city neighborhoods and risk areas benefiting hundreds of vulnerable families. The PRODETUR Fortaleza program was also launched in 2011 to improve the Praia do Futuro area as a tourist destination and to decrease the vulnerability of the area. The US$50-billion program rehabilitated 7 km of the seafront promenade and promoted large-scale drainage in the region. 

“This type of investment promotes not only improvement of the city, but also economic growth through tourism, which has been reinforced. And now entrepreneurs in this sector have better working conditions and offer better tourist services, creating jobs, sources of income and higher quality in the provision of general services,” said Samuel Dias, mayor of the city of Fortaleza. 

For Dias, the partnership with CAF goes far beyond financial resources. “In the past six years working together, we have trained many of our employees and we have taken the opportunities to experience realities in other countries, which helps us promote many new ideas in Fortaleza.” 

The third CAF loan for the Fortaleza - City with a Future program will fund infrastructure and services to create jobs and sources of income, and to reduce violence. “It is a program with a holistic view, which will change the face of a tourism-oriented city, which is one of its main sources of revenue. With these new efforts, the city will expand with more quality, enhancing the urban coastline, improving accessibility, mobility and the socio-economic possibilities of its residents, with a modern vision and actions aimed at reducing violence,” said Jaime Holguín, CAF representative in Brazil. 

One of the most significant urban interventions was the renovation of the Piscis Market on Beira-Mar Avenue. What was previously a limited space to sell seafood, has now become a reference in the Brazilian Northeast. “In Salvador, where I live, our market does not compare to the structure of the market in Fortaleza, especially in cleanliness, affordable prices and the opportunity to eat shrimp and lobster cooked to order,” said tourist Rafael Linhares. 

One of the direct beneficiaries of the project was entrepreneur Luiza Lourenço, owner of a seafood stand for the past 26 years. “The new structure has benefited us all. Today we have much better storage conditions, which makes our products are more presentable, under more hygienic conditions, and that gives customers more confidence,” emphasized Lourenço. 

One of the most notable measures of the Fortaleza - City with a Future project is the installation of a video surveillance system and monitoring by 10 community groups for public safety in the region of Beira-Mar. Our goal is to make this area safer, by supporting the actions of municipal public safety management, which calls for initiatives promoting transparency and servicing vulnerable groups, especially women and young people.

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