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Northeast cities and their evolution in the last three decades

By Nertan Rabelo*

I'm from Fortaleza, and I've been following the city's urban landscapes since I left my neighborhood towards the city center to study at the famous preparatory courses for university exams. In the city's main avenues, there were thermometers and totems set in the central worksite on the boulevards, and it almost always reached 29ºC at 1 pm. I remember it was the hottest time of the day. Now, whether you are arriving by sea or the suburbs, the weather stays an average of 37ºC all year round.

I have noticed constructive and urbanistic interventions in large cities that don't always respect the environmental conservation of the urban landscape, once made up of many trees, some large houses from the 1930s and 1940s, cobbled streets, and a vast network of streams and ponds permeating the city. At this time, when everything seemed to have a slower pace, there was room for some contemplation and peace during the daily commute to everyday tasks.

The solid commercial growth of the city's main corridors prompted builders to demolish old buildings to meet the residential and commercial demands of the new population configuration that originated in the city: shopping within the neighborhood. The City Hall, in turn, laid out new streets and avenues with new asphalt paving, bike lanes, wider sidewalks, and so on. However, both agents forgot the obvious: our city is hot, and we need trees and modern buildings that reflect this reality without requiring so much confined space with air conditioning.

The real estate market needs to assume that these spaces are occupied by human beings who need fresh air and contemplation and that their usefulness goes beyond the commercial purpose. Our commercial buildings must contribute to the urban landscape, beautifying the city, preserving the environment, and financially profitable the businesses that will be inserted there. We need this topic to be studied by market agents and the public sector, replacing the overdue term "real estate speculation" with the current moment that "real estate development" is experiencing.

Contributing to the sustainable development of our city goes beyond the composition of the facades with some shades of green, decorative gardening, and symbolic elements. This is not necessarily a sustainable building. Our biggest challenge is to meet our most latent demand: to unite construction technology with functional design in favor of beautiful architecture with greater environmental sustainability for our Fortaleza and other cities in the Northeast, which is visibly in a growth process.

Today, the term sustainability begins to lose the simplistic connotation of 'environmental preservation' to account for the complexity of the environmental ecosystem, where, obligatorily, we need to think and act in the role of the human being in the paradigm shift from "explore to grow" to "recreate to live." Obviously, with each cycle of society's evolution, the concept of living gains connotations that reflect the new habits of groups that generate trends for the next generations. And nowadays, living in the city involves quality of life, health, well-being, beauty, mobility, ease, and design.

At this time, we plan and develop projects that can be long-lasting, sustainable, and highly connected with the present that the current generation wants. The balance point of our direction is the quest to unite current technologies with contemporary aesthetics and the flexibility that the future requires.

*Nertan Rabelo is Executive Director of Aurum Desenvolvimento Imobiliário with a degree in Business Administration from the State University of Ceará and an MBA in Business Management from Ibmec-RJ. Aurum has warehouse projects under development in the Northeast, and offers are available for lease at SiiLA SPOT.

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