24 Feb

Interview with Professor José Júlio Ferreira Lima

José Júlio Lima, bachelor’s at Architecture from Federal University of Pará (1986), master’s at Architecture from Fukui University (1991), master’s at Urban Design from Oxford Brookes University (1994) and doctorate at Architecture from Oxford Brookes University (2000). Currently he is an associate professor at the Federal University of Pará and a researcher at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Has experience in Urban and Regional Planning, focusing on Techniques of Urban and Regional Planning and Project, acting on the following subjects: urban planning, urban design, sustainable development, housing and sanitation policy.

Professor José Julio Lima in the room of the master's degree at the UFPa.

Renato Lobato: As a great researcher and having a work of wide recognition throughout your professional and academic career. Tell us about the importance of specialization and postgraduate in the training of professionals who want to work in the field of research.

Professor José Júlio Lima:  The postgraduate is fundamental to the development of research. The students during the graduation are increasingly becoming interested in scholarships for science, which is very good. The specialization courses are the first step towards a more deep studies that there is no in the graduation. In the architecture, the graduate is very generalist, and it’s not a problem, but for the research is necessary a greater focus in a specific area of work. The courses of master e doctorate, specifically in architecture have two major foci, a more academic and other professional. I believe that to the both is very important the experience after the graduation. Even the critical and history of architecture needs that the architect to go through a period of own maturation. If before it was necessary to be after the graduation, currently during the graduation is possible to develop research and soon begin to reflection, read authors deeper, “make up the mind” even before graduation.

Renato Lobato: In the case of Urbanism, large countries, such as Japan, faced serious structural problems during the process of economic development and were able to solve spatial problems through intelligent solutions involving a daring modern architecture and engineering projects. How would you rate the urban problems of Brazilian cities and what are the best ways to solve them?

Professor José Júlio Lima: The issue is fundamentally the understanding that economic development and spatial occupation go through a discussion that is not only settled by an engineering or architecture project. The architecture and engineering are activities that can and should be seen as enablers of development planning. One has to consider that economic growth in the period in which Japan has developed more, in the 1980s, still lived in a world in which capital was not globalized, that the cities had not yet assumed an important role in the movement of capital, explaining, the urban problems are of various scales, it is important to know that  there is some attributed to the level of economic development and citizens’ dependence of a labor market not sustainable, in that there are few opportunities to form a more consolidated economic. Other problems, such as the location of slums by one side and a housing market aggressive in other, need to be treated by redistributive policies. The cities are places where this possibility is a reality. This is not just a physical solution, one has to integrate the various interests, which are basically economic and political, to invest and to sustain the urban services in an equilibrium level that can ensure that the market does not jeopardize the possible actions of government and the private sector to solve the major urban problems with transportation, housing, health and safety.

Master students in a reunion with Professor José Julio Lima.

Renato Lobato: Professor, one of your dissertations, entitled “The Neighbourhood plan for upgrading a bairro of Belém” and your doctoral thesis “Regulatory instruments and urban form: searching for social equity in Belém, Brazil”, analyze recurring situations of the town of Belém do Pará. In short, what results were obtained with these studies?

Professor José Júlio Lima: In the case of the dissertation was a big concern with one aspect of the Master Plan of Belém that was the formulation of what would be a neighborhood plan. At the time we lived in a crucial moment for the cities, shortly after the 1988 Constitution, discussed the possibility of implementing instruments to extend the regularization land, increasing policies of urbanization of slums. So, I tried to relate the field of study of the Urban Design with guidelines contained in the master plan. For this I chose the Guamá neighborhood to serve as a case study to reflect on the qualities of drawing at the same time that I articulated the principles of democratization of the city. I am convinced that the dissertation helped in the discuss, for example, the relationship between sanitation and urbanization, and today I work in a research funded by CNPq that studies the drainage basins of Belém, including the Guamá neighborhood. The thesis, by the requirement of the doctoral level, required a study to propose a methodology and also a unique problem. I developed a research methodology where the urban form can be measured as to their condition of promoting greater accessibility and contribute to decrease the socio-spatial segregation, while the concept of social equity, also the result of the 1988 Constitution, was analyzed over the various master plans made to Belém. As a result, I had the opportunity to participate of the review of the master plan for Belém and other cities of Pará. In all it was possible to work with the methodology started in the doctorate.

Renato Lobato: Therefore, the city of Belém, as part of the Amazon, has great natural wealth with strong economic trends, have been recognized as the “metropolis of the Amazon”. Thus, what are the main difficulties that the city currently faces with regard to its urban planning and what would be advisable to minimize such problems?

Professor José Júlio Lima: I believe that the city of Belém is living a period of crisis in the urban management. There is a large housing boom without the control urban to realize this process. The difficulties are mainly the lack of coordination between public policy and urban management. I believe there are resources available, which in it self is already a solution, the problem is that projects do not talk to each other. Although Belém is growing through new investment for housing of various economic standards, there is not a link between them and public services. We have to enforce town planning instruments such as charging for Solo Created, special zones of social interest and stop thinking about the city like “hiccups”.

Professor José Julio Lima and some of the master students.

Renato Lobato: Another serious problem that cities face today is related to the housing shortage. Programs like ”Minha Casa, Minha Vida” (My House, My Life) help needy families through a housing, still far from the standards that provides a good housing. Other programs such as PROSAMIM in Manaus and Vila da Barca in Belém are characterized for take in consideration a number of important issues, such as the customs of the locals and work rehabilitation. In this sense, what solutions would you indicate to the housing problems that large cities face?

Professor José Júlio Lima: I believe that housing programs integrated are ways to the solutions, as I proposed before, in an integrated manner. The new house in a sanitized area need to have transport, health, education and create opportunities for access to employment. I do not think is too much to ask, after all this is why the cities were created by mankind. The standard of suitable housing is not only in relation to the housing unit, the surroundings sanitized and with guaranteed access, need be considered. The architectural designs to work with minimum standards need to be coordinated with actions of municipal, state and Union to promote the development of the residents.

Some works undertaken by the city of Belém in the discipline of urban planning, given by Professor Jose Julio Lima, in the undergraduate program in architecture and urbanism.

Renato Lobato: The urban morphology, the study on the design that every city must have according to their spatial characteristics, is a matter intrinsic to the best possible urban planning. So, how large and complex projects such as urban renewal should address those characteristics in developing proposals for cities?

Professor José Júlio Lima: The urban morphology is a field of study not necessarily prescriptive, despite being used as a subsidy for the design, the morphology is essentially descriptive. Its relevance to large and complex projects such as urban renewal must address the lessons that the study of form over time can provide. I believe that in Brazil there is a vacuum in the conduct of urban regeneration projects, when we did not have like the European countries, the understanding that given the need to rebuild or take advantage of the so-called “hooves” old urban, the morphology contributed to restore urban qualities at risk of disappearance. Thus, although we had urban regeneration initiatives, the emphasis, by the situation of lack of resources or of misuse of public resources, there was an emphasis on sanitation or transportation engineering.

Renato Lobato: Professor, you have oriented several dissertations over the years and you are one of the professors at the postgraduate program at the Federal University of Pará, how do you see the research that have being undertaken by the new masters and how do you rate the importance of the master’s degree for urban development of the city?

Professor José Júlio Lima: The researches that I guide and the dissertations that have been completed with my orientation are characterized by the articulation between the issues of urban management, planning, and always applying a methodology that addresses the urban form like a key component. While not all have been in the course of architecture, I guide in the civil engineering at the interface between urban form and sanitation actions, in the geography seeking to investigate the concepts of the discipline with the situations facing the implementation of space management, including advancing to the rural areas. In the postgraduate program in architecture of the UFPa, began in 2010, I guide dissertations that dealing with the urban morphology in front of the new changes in financing patterns of housing provision, in question of the centrality of the form and themes that relate to public policy in the city, with emphasis on housing policy in various aspects. I make sure that the works are able to move conceptually and empirically. Although many jobs are based in history, it is important to move conceptually and could include aspects that are worked on a day to day of the management.

Studio of architecture and urbanism at the Federal University of Pará.

Renato Lobato: Finally, those who are interested in continuing to study, what information do you advise the student in choosing a specialty?

Professor José Júlio Lima: It is not an advice, but I believe that is important to be connected in several “sub areas” of architecture and urbanism to find what matters most. Another suggestion is to read about research methodology. There is a pressure from funding agencies of national and international research by increasing the quality of research by means of a standard comparable with other areas of knowledge. Remember that architecture is an applied social science, despite having a strong technological content.

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