To The Global

The School of Real Estate & Planning visit Latin America

Members of the School of Real Estate & Planning and the School of Construction Management & Engineering visited São Paulo in August to partake in a series of research seminars about real estate in Latin America organised with the University of São Paulo.

Opened by Professor Steven Mithen, Pro Vice Chancellor, UoR and Professor Jose Roberto Cardoso, Dean of the Escola Politecnica da Universidade de Sao Paulo, the research seminars welcomed attendees from Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil. The knowledge exchange included presentations from academics and industry professionals as well as workshops and round table discussions with government officials, practitioners and post graduate students from the University of São Paulo.

A number of key issues were highlighted during the seminars:rep_latin_america_trip3

Urban inequality and informality

There is little connection between planning and finance, and land value capture is not fully distributed among all sectors of the population. This inefficiency is not only constraining the development of infrastructure but is also breeding inequality.

Planning in Latin America is short term

Master planning continues to be a top down approach with little public consultation. More popular participation is needed so the plans belong to the people and are not at the mercy of political changes. A study of community engagement that is contextual to Latin America's attitudes towards participatory planning must be carried out.

Quality of the built environment

Latin American countries are fully engaged in reducing housing deficits but the quality of many proposals are questionable and this is now high on the governments' agendas. A discussion on how to address not only housing deficits in terms of quantity but also quality of units proposed the development of key quality indicators for the Latin American context and aligned with the region's behavioural patterns and cultural preferences. The core areas to be evaluated include community, connectivity, climate change and character.

Real estate valuation systems

A lack of available data impacts on the region's transparency. Furthermore the data that is available seems to be provided by RE international firms which, according to Brazilian academics, could be biased and carry a degree of client preferences, therefore distorting the market. Lack of available data not only relates to valuations but also to transactions.

Financing mechanisms for development

Professor Michael Ball raised the question of availability of finance particularly for housing. He questioned mortgage availability and mechanisms to cope with default. The concern presented by Brazilian Housing Director was what default mechanisms can the government implement when dealing with a very vulnerable sector of the population, i.e. poor favela inhabitants. Can the standard mechanisms used with middle classes be applied?

The most important outcome was the agreement of an international and interdisciplinary team which will be led by a steering committee formed by academics from all participating countries. The areas highlighted will be developed in the second leg of the seminars to be held in Colombia in 2014. In this context action research projects in partnership with local governments and practitioners will be developed in all core areas of the built environment.

For a full review of the seminars and more information on the visit, please click here.


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