Island Press grieves the loss of Jaime Lerner, renowned architect and planner who served three terms as mayor of Curitiba, Brazil and two terms as governor of the State of Paraná. Editors Heather Boyer and Rebecca Bright remember Jaime’s legacy to the built environment and how the actions of one determined person can be the catalyst for powerful change.

“The car is like a mother-in-law. You have to tolerate it but cannot let it run your life."

Jaime Lerner, from his book tour for Urban Acupuncture in 2014

Jaime Lerner (1937-2021), influential urbanist and politician, is best remembered for the innovative Bus Rapid Transit system developed in Curitiba, Brazil during his tenure as Mayor. Curitiba’s BRT system inspired others throughout the world from Bogotá to Los Angeles.

If you ever heard Lerner speak, you know that he is an engaging (and not brief) storyteller. His stories spark action by showing the power of “pinpricks” of urbanism to uplift city life, and that large-scale change is possible.

It can be difficult to capture a warm, booming personality in a slim book, but Lerner (with the help of his Island Press editor Rebecca Bright) succeeded in conveying his deep love for cities and the people in them in Urban Acupuncture.

In the words of another great urbanist, Jan Gehl, reading the book “is like having a dinner with a good friend where the conversation just flows, one story after the other, good examples that will stick with you when you go home. One of these evenings where you go home inspired to do something yourself, believing that change can happen."

Lerner’s work and stories will continue to inspire urbanists around the world. His message will continue to move readers around the world, as it has been translated into multiple languages including Korean, Spanish, and Ukrainian.

Check out the celebration of Jaime's work and vision in this recorded webinar with Mike Lydon, Erin Barnes, and Stephen Goldsmith.

To share Jaime's ideas and further his legacy, we offer a free chapter, Building with Dignity, below.