Population > 2.9 million
Leading indicator > 45% of residents use extensive bus system
Fast company > América Latina Logística
In the 1960s, Curitiba held a contest to address its rapid growth. The winning plan proposed expansion along easily accessible public-transit corridors--and Jaime Lerner, who helped execute the vision, eventually became mayor. Today, urban planners praise (and, as in L.A., mimic) his system. And the city uses 23% less fuel per capita than the rest of Brazil, says the UN.