Down here in Rio, there are many of these “Kombi” vans.

San Diego might want to look into using these smaller, maneuverable vans.

They work great and maneuver people all around the city. It’s not perfect but they get people where they want to go cheaply and relatively quickly.

They also have a metro (subway) and are working on a Bus Rapid Transit.

Also, I am staying in a very dense neighborhood with vibrant street life, but it doesn’t feel all that dense, like I am feeling inundated with people, because the mixed-use commerce on the street level is such that it accommodates the people and the sidewalks accommodate people.

So, what you have here are highly dense neighborhoods with typical apartment buildings in the 10-12 story range serviced by mass transit and a not a feeling of being in midtown Manhattan. More like being in some areas of San Francisco.

(Of course the favelas are a different story.)

Anthony Mendiola is a graduate student in city planning at San Diego State University. He is working on two projects at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro.

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