The Future Proofing of Cities in Latin America

26 juli 2018

By Camila Sayuri Vasconcelos Shibata 

We live in large cities, surrounded by challenges ranging from moving to our jobs to picking up children at school. Sometimes the routes can be long and aggravated by adversities such as traffic jams at peak times, large distances or overcrowding of public transportation. With the advancement of technology and the population growth, there is a need for cities to be smarter, so people can have a better quality of life.

The need for improvements in cities, in modern life, especially regarding the quality of life in large cities is not only in transportation, but also in water and sewage systems and street/public lighting systems. We also still have a lot to improve in the reuse of waste, income inequality and emissions of greenhouse gases. The big question is: what are we doing about it?

Arcadis Latam has many projects that contribute to the development of cities, both in the areas of infrastructure and water. The extension of the subway system in the city of Salvador, Bahia, counted on the consultancy of Arcadis. The implementation of 5 km of railway allowed the connection between the subway and the BRT (Bus Rapid Train) terminal of the city. The prioritization of public transportation in big cities is fundamental for the organization and comfort of the population, and this project allowed easy access from a peripheral zone to a central region (downtown). In addition, integration between transport modes adds time savings and sustainability to the displacements.

Another important project in infrastructure is the LRT (Light Rail Train) in the metropolitan area of Belo Horizonte, capital of the state of Minas Gerais. Structures, design and landscaping were developed by Arcadis, whose primary concern was accessibility. The stations have bicycle racks and some can be accessed by bike paths. Furthermore, the project’s buildings were designed and built with energy efficiency in mind.

In the water distribution business, Arcadis also plays an important role, with large projects contributing to the treatment of sewage and water use. We can mention the São Lourenço System project, which is a completely new system of water supply for the metropolitan region of São Paulo. The construction company hired Arcadis for the development of the detailed design project, including the rainwater catchment system, lifting stations and water pipes.

In Santiago, capital of Chile, Arcadis participated in the largest expansion project of the subway already developed in the city. The project has an expansion of 22 km, which had as main objectives the decongestion of the city and the reduction of pollution.

In the South of Brazil, Arcadis is responsible for managing and controlling street lighting services in some cities. In the large scheme, street lighting plays a significant role at transforming cities into future proof ones. The first strategic step is to retrofit the obsolete lighting equipment to LED luminaires, which are more efficient, sustainable and require less maintenance. The second major step is to install in all LED luminaires, devices that can create a communication network between each lighting pole. An example in Joinville (Santa Catarina, Brazil), where Arcadis has been providing consultancy for 15 years, the city has replaced over 12.500 luminaries, which represents 25% of the all the whole devices installed and US$ 500,000 in energy saving per year.

Our small routine actions can lead to significant results in improving our own quality of life. Arcadis can make this scenario become much larger, positively impacting the lives of millions of people, either by connecting the transport facilities in the cities, or by contributing to the efficiency of water and energy distribution.

I would like to thank Camilla Oliveira, Gustavo Tanaka and Gustavo Thiel for the information provided on the infrastructure projects. We are all connected! #OneTeamLatam