WHO WE ARE
Established in 2005 – motivated by the network research: Informal urban land markets in Brazilian cities and access by the poor to land, coordinated by Professor Pedro Abramo -, the Land and Real Estate Market Study Group (known as Gemfi) developed from the Postgraduate Program in Urban Development, from within the Department of Architecture and Urbanism at the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, under the coordination of Professor Norma Lacerda. Justifiably, the first studies were focused on the topic of informal urban land markets in the poorer areas of the Metropolitan Region of Recife. The objective was to reveal the functioning mechanisms of these markets, by identifying the characteristics of the supply and demands; informational aspects regarding the agents and their conduct; the specificities of the products (homogeneous or heterogeneous); externalities (exogenous and endogenous); in addition to the decision-making environment. At first (2005 to 2006), it was restricted to the following poor areas: Brasília Teimosa, Mustardinha and Pilar, located in Recife, and Passarinho, in Olinda. The research demonstrated that as from the 1990s, the main means of access to housing was via the informal market. Furthermore, it concluded that the informal rental market played a significant participatory role when considering the totality of real estate transactions conducted across these areas. Of the 385 properties surveyed, 57.9% corresponded to rented properties (223 units). In view of this result, a new investigation (2007 to 2011) was initiated, focusing on the rental market, including yet another poor area: Tabatinga, in Camaragibe. In this new phase, the research identified the general norms of how the rental markets function and demonstrated the singularities of each one, which, ultimately, enabled them to become structured by means of their own mechanisms, depending on their respective situations, to which the agents adjusted themselves. This led to reflection on the impossibility of an econometric reading of the prices being charged, as well as on the validity of the universal nature of the land tenure regularization policies.
In 2013, the first steps were taken towards a further network research, under the leadership of Gemfi. In view of the renewed interest by capital in the historic centers of Brazilian cities, the study group noted that, despite the centrality that the theme of historic centers began to take on, there were no studies that indicated the implications of this return on the real estate market in these centralities. Hence the pioneering spirit of the research into the Real Estate Market in the Historic Centers of Brazilian Cities (MICH), including studies in Recife, Olinda, São Luís and Belém, which demanded theorizing efforts on this very recent and relatively unknown theme.
By 2017, in addition to covering the historic centers, the research also included their respective surroundings. This expansion was not only due to the dynamics related to the resignification of historic properties, caused by a renewed interest by capital in historic centers, but also to the unprecedented appearance of new spaces within these surroundings. These areas presented a strong potential for real estate transformation, either for producing something ‘new’ on a blank slate, or for the revalorization of structures that were obsolete and subject to rehabilitation. Furthermore, it also now includes two other central areas: those of João Pessoa and Campina Grande.