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Ocean & Coastal Management xxx (2012) 1e10



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                                                       Ocean & Coastal Management
                                            journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/ocecoaman




High-rise development of the sea-front at Fortaleza (Brazil): Perspectives on its
valuation and consequences
D.P. Paula a, b, *, J.M.A. Dias a, b, Ó. Ferreira a, J.O. Morais b
a
    CIMA, Universidade do Algarve, Campus de Gambelas, 8005 Faro, Portugal
b
    Universidade Estadual do Ceará/PROPGEO/LGCO, Av. Paranjana 1700, Campus do Itaperi, Fortaleza, Ceará 60740000, Brazil




a r t i c l e i n f o                                   a b s t r a c t

Article history:                                        Occupation of the Fortaleza’s coastline began in the 17th century following the arrival of the Dutch and
Available online xxx                                    subsequent construction of the fortress after which the city is named. Urban development of the coast
                                                        began in the early 19th century. The processes of occupation and urbanization along Fortaleza’s coastline
                                                        is inseparable from the history of the port and its environmental impacts (silting-up and erosion).
                                                        Currently, the coast studied is one of Brazil’s most developed, densely populated and most heavily
                                                        modified by coastal engineering structures. Urban development accelerated in the 1980s due to tourism
                                                        activities and led to the expansion of high-rise construction along the beachfront. Intensive occupation
                                                        thus replaced extensive occupation. This paper explores Fortaleza’s urban development from two
                                                        perspectives. Firstly, we use historical data to document the process of high-rise development on the
                                                        tourist sea-front and the modification of the same coast with coastal engineering structures designed to
                                                        contain erosion triggered by the construction of Mucuripe Harbor. Secondly, we collected field data on
                                                        the current urban fabric (including the distribution of high-rise buildings, land prices and land use) and
                                                        used these data to analyze urban growth and human pressure on the coastal zone, especially the For-
                                                        taleza sea-front. Extensive artificial modification of the coast has enabled Fortaleza to develop into one of
                                                        the most important tourist resorts in Brazil. In turn, this increased economic activity has allowed
                                                        increasingly extensive and costly coastal engineering structures to be built in the area.
                                                                                                                          Ó 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.




1. Introduction                                                                           people live within 100 km of coastline at elevations below 100 m,
                                                                                          where population density is about 3 times greater than the global
   Sandy beaches prevail on exposed coastlines around the world                           average (Small and Nicholls, 2003). In Brazil, for example, coastline
(Bascom, 1980). Currently they are favored sites for recreation and                       extends for 8500 km including 300 coastal municipalities. Four of
the development of economic activities such as beach tourism (e.g.:                       the ten (40%) largest metropolitan areas of the Brazil are located on
Klein et al., 2004) and, as a consequence, they are highly valued and                     the sea-front, including Fortaleza. Half of the population (more
sought after by modern society as a place for primary, secondary or                       than 90 million people) lives less than 200 km from the sea (Araújo
temporary residence (Parsons and Powell, 2001). This attraction                           and Costa, 2008). Rapid population growth has been followed by
toward the coastal zone has triggered intense population growth,                          a process of disorganized urbanization of coastal areas (Muehe,
causing significant expansion of urbanized areas (both in area and                         2004).
height) and great human pressure on beaches (Brown and                                       The high level of population density in coastal areas reduces the
McLachlan, 2002).                                                                         environmental resilience of beach, especially in urban zones. Here
   The impacts of urbanization on coastal areas have been widely                          tourism has contributed to massive occupation of the coast, which
discussed in literature (e.g.: Turner et al., 1996; Dias and Ferreira,                    has resulted in decrease in environmental quality at recreational
1997; Nicholls and Small, 2002; Sealeum et al., 2007; Ariza et al.,                       beaches (Sealeum et al., 2007; Cervantes and Espejel, 2008; Araújo
2008; Silva et al., 2008). Recent estimates show that 1.2 billion                         and Costa, 2008). In developed countries beaches are commonly
                                                                                          seen as spaces for leisure and entertainment by modern society
                                                                                          (Ariza et al., 2008). Whereas in developing countries (e.g.: Brazil)
 * Corresponding author. Universidade Estadual do Ceará, Av. Paranjana 1700,
Campus do Itaperi, Fortaleza, Geografia, Ceará 60740000, Brazil. Tel.: þ55 85
                                                                                          beaches are often used for commodity exchange. Beaches therefore
32633478; fax: þ55 85 31019885.                                                           represent two interacting subsystems: one natural and the other
   E-mail addresses: davispp@yahoo.com.br, davispp@hotmail.com (D.P. Paula).              socioeconomic (Araújo and Costa, 2008).

0964-5691/$ e see front matter Ó 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.03.004



    Please cite this article in press as: Paula, D.P., et al., High-rise development of the sea-front at Fortaleza (Brazil): Perspectives on its valuation and
    consequences, Ocean & Coastal Management (2012), doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.03.004
2                                                    D.P. Paula et al. / Ocean & Coastal Management xxx (2012) 1e10


    Coastal development, along with impacts of human activities                            In many Brazilian cities the maximum height limitation on
in watersheds, has often led to a sharp decrease in sediment                           buildings on the sea-front was established in the 1990s, prior to this
supply to coasts, resulting in coastal retreat and beach erosion.                      time there was only regulation on the construction site. The Land
This has further caused the destruction of housing, community                          Law (1960s) stipulated that in most coast cities, including Fortaleza,
facilities and financial investments (e.g.: Bird, 2000; Dias, 2005;                     all residential areas located on the sea-front and next to the river
Ferreira et al., 2008).                                                                must had a maximum building height of three (3) to four (4) floors.
    Urban beaches are increasingly sandwiched between growing                          Presently, for most of the coastal cities of Brazil (e.g.: Fortaleza,
urban areas on the continental side and the action of waves and                        Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Balneário Camboriú) the limit allowed for
tides on the ocean side. Under such conditions, beaches lose their                     buildings on the sea-front varies from 60 m (20 floors) to 75 m (25
resilience, rapidly changing in shape and extension in response to                     floors). In Fortaleza’s specific case, this limit is 72 m (24 floors).
high-energy events (Klein et al., 2003). Human-induced changes,                            Carleial and Araújo (2011) point out that high-rise build-up in
like the urbanization of areas too close to the shoreline, not only                    Fortaleza was linked to economic activities in the industrial sector,
profoundly alter the natural environment, but also sooner or                           later extending to high-income neighborhoods for residential, and
later are themselves threatened by beach dynamics. This occurs                         later commercial, purposes. Somekh (1997) calls this process the
especially during high-energy events, generally prompting the                          multiplication of urban land, made possible by the elevator. Thus,
construction of hard coastal engineering works (e.g.: Dias, 1990).                     verticality is said to be linked to the intensive use of urban land
These cause changes in coastal characteristics and dynamics,                           (density) and the pattern of technological development.
reducing beaches’ ability to adapt to natural events, and directly                         This study analyzes the major changes that occurred along the
interfering in their sedimentary balance (e.g.: Dias, 1990; Swenson                    Fortaleza shoreline between the 1960s and 2000s, aiming at
and Franklin, 2000; Nordstrom, 2000; Hansen, 2010).                                    understanding how human interference (intensive urbanization e
    Intensive urban development took place in Fortaleza in the                         connected largely to touristic activities) contributed to the mass
1980s, a period in which Fortaleza’s economic interests shifted                        occupation of the coast and its associated impacts.
from the hinterland and began to focus almost entirely on the coast
(Dantas, 2002). Thus it ceased to be a harbor city and became one of                   2. Materials and methods
the most sought after tourist destinations in Brazil. This trans-
formation was ruled by the intense urbanization of the coastline                           Information on all urban facilities along the Beira Mar Avenue
starting in the late 1960s and peaking in the 1980s (Vasconcelos                       (Fortaleza) was recorded during fieldwork carried out in 2010. A
and Coriolano, 2008). Between 1960s and 2011 Fortaleza’s pop-                          Differential Global Positioning System (DGPSGTRG2/GLONASS)
ulation grew more than 250%. During the first 10 years of the 21st                      with a precision of 10 mm/1 ppm (kinematic module) was used to
century Fortaleza’s population has grown more than the national                        record the information about the buildings located along the sea-
average. Fortaleza is the 5th most populous municipality (2,447,409                    front. Information collected included geographic coordinates,
peoples) in Brazil (IBGE, 2010). This growth was achieved due to                       types of building (office, residence, institutional, mixed, hotel and
public and private investments in urban (e.g.: harbor, airport, rail-                  others), name of the building, number of floors, year of construction
road and freeway) and tourist (e.g.: hotel, resort, restaurant and                     and maximum distance from the coastline, the width of the beach
night club) infrastructure.                                                            sidewalk and its distance from the highest tide line. This informa-
    Along Fortaleza’s shoreline, coastal erosion and the encroach-                     tion was inserted into a database in a Geographic Information
ment of the urban area have turned a natural landscape into                            System GIS. The geographical identification of the buildings and
a heavily urbanized cityscape where, through hard coastal engi-                        their use allowed to map zones of interest (e.g.: Public, private and
neering structures (groynes, harbors, marinas, jetties and land                        technological). Moreover, the buildings geographic distribution
reclamation), the current coastline has become completely artificial.                   allowed to identify occupied blocks and their occupation type (e.g.:
    The way of life in cities with such a high degree of urbanization                  residential, tourist and commercial activities).
promotes distinct social patterns and physical structures. The                             The rate of verticalization and value (per square meter) was
intense flow of capital and people, and limitations on physical                         calculated from documents made available by the City Hall of For-
space, lead to high-rise construction. This type of construction was                   taleza (PMF), the Regional Council of Realtors (CRECI), the Union of
adopted during the industrial revolution in Europe, where three- to                    Enterprises for Buying, Selling, Leasing and Managing Property of
six-story buildings appeared in major cities (Mascaró and                              Ceará (SECOVI-CE), and information found in newspapers. These
Yoshinaga, 2005). In the U.S.A, this type of construction was                          data showed some inaccuracies in the field and were corrected as
adopted in the 19th century in the cities of Chicago, New York and                     required. The rate of construction was determined by the ratio
Manhattan Island. The first of these constructions rose to more than                    between the number of buildings built and the number of years
100 m (or more than 30 floors). In Brazil, high-rise construction at                    under analysis (10, in this case, since the scale used is based on
coastal areas started in 1920 in the cities of São Paulo (Santos                       decades).
Beach) and Rio de Janeiro (Copacabana Beach). In the cities of NE                          To quantify vacant land and the advancement of the urban front,
Brazil, constructions of buildings on sea-front started in                             aerial photographs of Fortaleza (1968, 1972, 1978, 1995 and 2004),
1950se1960s (e.g.: Fortaleza, Recife and Salvador).                                    TM-LANDSAT (1978, 1980, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2004 and 2005)
    This form of development, also referred to as verticalization, is                  and QuickBird images (2003 and 2010) were used. This imagery was
characterized by the replacement of urban constructions (houses)                       converted to the same projection and datum and analyzed using
and open spaces by intensive or multifamily buildings. This process,                   ARCGIS 9 software. Each geographic item recorded was assigned to
common in modern urban structure, is more prevalent in areas of                        one or more categories for incorporation into the database, allowing
intense market speculation. In Fortaleza, this occurs mainly in the                    items with similar land-uses to be extracted and analyzed.
area surrounding the Beira Mar Avenue, built in 1963 and extend-                           We calculated the distance between the urban front (buildings,
ing from Iracema Beach to Mucuripe Beach, and where the main                           blocks, sidewalks and stalls) and the maximum wave run-up level
clubs, hotels, flats and restaurants are found. In Rio de Janeiro, high-                on the day of the experiment by inserting the coordinates collected
rise processes on the sea-front intensified after the Copacabana                        in the field into a georeferenced base-map of the area. Distances
Palace hotel construction (Copacabana Beach) in 1923 (Ficher,                          from each urban structure and the maximum wave run-up were
1994).                                                                                 then calculated.


    Please cite this article in press as: Paula, D.P., et al., High-rise development of the sea-front at Fortaleza (Brazil): Perspectives on its valuation and
    consequences, Ocean & Coastal Management (2012), doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.03.004
D.P. Paula et al. / Ocean & Coastal Management xxx (2012) 1e10                                              3


3. Study area                                                                       Mucuripe (2.9 km). Immediately adjacent to and connecting these
                                                                                    beaches is the Beira Mar Avenue (Fig. 1). Seventeen geometrically
    The study area is in the city of Fortaleza, the capital of Ceará State,         dissimilar blocks are strung along the landward side of the avenue.
Northeast Brazil. The city faces the equatorial Atlantic Ocean with                 Sandy beaches are situated between Mucuripe Harbor (east) and
34 km of sandy beaches and has an average altitude of 21 m above                    Iracema Beach. About 90% of the coastline is affected by hard
sea level (IBGE, 2010). The geographical position of the city, located              coastal engineering structures (Valentini and Rosman, 1992).
just below the equator, makes it a popular tourist destination for                      Beira Mar beaches are at present characterized by a narrow strip
Europeans and Americans. Fortaleza has the highest population                       of sand, averaging 45 m wide, with wider beaches in the middle
density among the Brazilian state capitals: about 8000 inhabitants                  sector and narrower ones to the east. There is a stretch of 300 m
per square kilometer. The city experiences a semi-arid climate with                 between Náutico Beach and Mucuripe Beach, known as the Volta da
rather small temperature amplitude (average maximum: 30 ;                          Jurema, which has no beach, but only rocky outcrops (beach rocks)
average minimum 24 ). Its climatic conditions are influenced by the                 averaging 30 m in width and submerged at high tide. According to
Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) and variations in the                        Paula et al. (2008), Beira Mar beaches are intermediate in type,
seasonal phenomena of El Niño (which occurs in the dry season) and                  tending toward more reflective stages during storm events,
La Niña (marked by rainfall above the regional multi-annual                         apparently as a consequence of the coastline’s high degree of arti-
average). Geologically, the city sits on the quartz sand sediments of               ficial modification.
the coastal plain, consisting of beach and marine terraces, mobile                      The touristic Beira Mar sea-front of Fortaleza is located in
and fixed sand dunes and fluvialemarine plains.                                       a region with a population density of 8200 inhabitants/km2,
    The tidal regime is semidiurnal meso-tidal, ranging from 0.5 m                  reaching 12,000 inhabitants/km2 at Mucuripe Beach. The average
to 3.87 m (INPH, 1996). For 95% of the year, waves approach from                    monthly income of the population that lives along Beira Mar
the east (90 ), with dominant significant wave heights of less than                 Avenue is R$2500 (U.S. $1506). However Náutico Beach residents
1.5 m and wave periods of less than 10 s. Waves from the northeast                  have an average income of R$4000 (U.S. $2409), five times the
occur occasionally (5% of the time) with significant height greater                  average income of Fortaleza as a whole: R$ 800 (U.S. $482) (IBGE,
than 1.5 m, and average period of 12 s (INPH, 2002). These waves                    2010).
are largely responsible for beach erosion (Melo et al., 1995). The
prevailing winds consistently come from EeSE at an average speed                    4. Results and discussion
of 4 m/s, but can reach 7 m/s in the second half of the year (Maia
et al., 1996).                                                                      4.1. The historic processes
    Fortaleza has more than 30 km de coastline, which is limited by
Pacoti (east) and Ceará (west) rivers. Only a 7.5 km stretch of beach                  The origins of urban development in Fortaleza can be traced
is considered in this study, corresponding to the traditional tour-                 back to 1649 AD, when the Dutch constructed the Schoonemborch
istic sea-front e the north coast e comprising the following bea-                   Fortress on the banks of the Pajeú Creek. Fortaleza was promoted to
ches: Iracema (2.1 km), Meireles (1.5 km), Náutico (1.0 km) and                     the status of city in 1726. However, intensive occupation of the




                                                    Fig. 1. Location of the Fortaleza study area in NW Brazil.



 Please cite this article in press as: Paula, D.P., et al., High-rise development of the sea-front at Fortaleza (Brazil): Perspectives on its valuation and
 consequences, Ocean  Coastal Management (2012), doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.03.004
4                                                    D.P. Paula et al. / Ocean  Coastal Management xxx (2012) 1e10


coastal area of Fortaleza only began in the early nineteenth century                       In the process of coastal development in Fortaleza, it is impor-
and was linked to the construction of the city’s harbor. The first                      tant to bear in mind the occurrence of drought episodes, which are
berth of Fortaleza, of a temporary character, was made of wood and                     characteristic events in Ceará. For example, the year 1951 was
stone and was built in 1804 in the area of Prainha (east of Praia de                   a drought year, with precipitation reduced to only 747 mm for the
Iracema) (Espindola, 1978). In 1844 it was replaced by another one,                    region as a whole (Morettin et al., 1993). Some locations had
resting on wooden piles, located in the vicinity of the current Poço                   considerably lower rainfall than this average value. As highlighted
da Draga, Iracema Beach (Meyll, 1930).                                                 by newspapers of the time (Nobre, 1973), there was a strong urban
    These first port facilities quickly became inoperable due to                        growth that year because labor was cheap and there was an
pronounced silting-up. The problem was so intense that in 1860s it                     increase in rents, a strong incentive to build. Sources related to the
was no longer possible to embark at low tide (Morais, 1972). At this                   government (Souza, 1979) calculated that, during that period, close
point, the city was clustered around the port infrastructure, the                      to eighty million Cruzeiros (more than U.S. $90,000 at the time) was
coastal front only occupying around 3 km (today’s historical center)                   spent building the city.
near Iracema Beach. Along the coast east of this area (today’s                             Following an episode of severe coastal erosion, the urban facil-
touristic sea-front), extensive dunes stretched from the coastline                     ities of Iracema Beach migrated to Meireles Beach, where less
far into the interior.                                                                 erosion was observed. According to the technical report of the 4th
    In order to solve the silting-up problems, a 670-m breakwater                      District of Ports, Rivers and Canals (DPRPC), erosion of these bea-
(known as the Hawkshaw Breakwater) was constructed (Valentini                          ches was responsible for the first house collapses in the history of
and Rosman, 1992). However, these works increased the silting                          Ceará (Parente, 1965). As a temporary solution, the State Govern-
process to the point where a shoal formed along the eastern side of                    ment authorized the construction of three rip-rap seawalls
the breakwater, while a shallow sandbank completely occupied the                       between Iracema and Meireles beaches in 1963 and six groynes on
port basin. This is visible in the French Navy hydrographic chart of                   the west coast.
1867, in which the completed Hawkshaw Breakwater is shown (the                             Jucá (2000), based on newspaper reports of the time, estimated
only artificial intervention to the coastline at the time). Morais                      that about 200 m of beach were eroded in a period of 10 years, with
(1972) point out that the low waterline moved 400 m out to sea                         an average erosion rate of about 20 m/year. Presumably this was
from its previous location, some 130 m from the present location of                    one of the highest erosion rates recorded on the Ceará coast during
Beira Mar Avenue. In an attempt to reduce coastal sediment supply,                     the last two centuries. Contrary to what could have been expected,
several dunes were vegetated to curtail aeolian transport. Groynes                     elite landowners were slow to shift from Iracema Beach to Meireles,
were also built, but the problem persisted.                                            despite all the problems related to coastal erosion.
    In 1899, a new port structure (known as the Metal Bridge), was                         During the 1970s, erosion problems continued along the coast of
built updrift of the Hawkshaw Breakwater. The structure                                Fortaleza. According to Salim (1998), by 1975 the coastline of For-
(completely permeable) did not induce sediment accumulation,                           taleza was artificially altered by 12 groynes, 4 rip-rap seawalls, 2
thus avoiding silting-up problems. Port warehouses were even                           bridges, an oil jetty and 2 breakwaters, spread between Mucuripe
built over the adjacent dunes with the aim of diminishing aeolian                      Harbor and the mouth of the Ceará River. In the late 1970s, the west
transport to the harbour basin. Nevertheless, the occupation                           coast of Fortaleza was totally artificial, being mainly defined by
remained restricted to the port area and urban expansion                               coastal hard engineering structures constructed in response to
continued toward the city center.                                                      erosion triggered by construction of the port.
    After thirty years, structural problems on the Metal Bridge                            Thanks to the sense of security lent by the coastal-defense hard
posed safety risks to the arrival and departure of people and goods                    structures, occupation of the seaside zone increased, namely
to/from Fortaleza. The structure no longer met the social, economic                    through the construction of Beira Mar Avenue and the replacement
and commercial demands of the city, and was decommissioned.                            of extensive low-rise buildings (houses) by intensive, high-rise
The port began to be transferred to Mucuripe Bay in 1933, a site                       developments. This happened mainly in the area between Náu-
previously occupied only by fishing communities (Morais, 1981).                         tico and Meireles beaches. The 1980s and 1990s were marked by
Two decades before, the Mucuripe dunes had been stabilized with                        the massive occupation of the coastal zone driven by tourism. This
vegetation, possibly with the dual purpose of preventing the sand                      intensified the process of high-rise development of the sea-front. In
from reaching the city via easterly winds, and allowing the                            1998, the construction of the International Airport of Fortaleza
expansion of the urban agglomeration.                                                  confirmed the status of the city as a major tourist destination in
    The basic infrastructure for Mucuripe Port was completed in                        Brazil, indirectly enhancing Beira Mar’s occupation density.
1938. However, the main protective structure- the Titan jetty/                             On the other hand, the growth of the city led to stabilization of
breakwater- did not prevent harbor silting-up problems as expec-                       the dune fields and the canalization of rivers and urban streams,
ted (Pitombeira, 1976). In fact, it induced intense coastal erosion of                 affecting the vulnerable balance of sediments on the coastline e
Iracema Beach, where the old port was located. These were the first                     Coastal erosion thus intensified. The same situation was observed
coastal erosion problems recorded along the Fortaleza coastline. In                    by Costa et al. (2008) on the shoreline of Boa Viagem Beach in Recife
an attempt to stop this erosion, four rip-rap groynes were built                       (NE Brazil). The 2000s were characterized by the intensification of
prior to 1945. More or less simultaneously, Fortaleza’s urban area                     high-rise construction as a model for the urban development of the
started to expand toward Mucuripe Harbor (east), occupying more                        city, especially the touristic sea-front. This process brought new
than 6 km of shore front. Since that time, Fortaleza’s population has                  investment in urban infrastructure, with the aim of adapting the
increased by 463% (data from the year 2000: IBGE, 2010). In the                        coastal area to the demands of the tourism industry and the
1950s the Titan breakwater was extended to 1910 m and the                              requirements for hosting the 2014 World Cup.
Titanzinho (Little Titan) groyne (1 km long) was built at Praia do                         Urbanization is a major determinant of the vulnerability of the
Futuro, immediately updrift of the Titan, in order to retain littoral                  coastline to high-energy events (storms). In this case, it is impor-
drift and avoid harbor siltation (Castro, 1989). Success was,                          tant to point out that these events seem to be increasing in
however, questionable: the harbour continued to accumulate                             frequency, intensity and impact on coastal infrastructure (Vilibic
sediment and erosion along Beira Mar intensified, leading to the                        et al., 2000). According to information published by Municipal
reorganization of all the coastal hard engineering structures                          Government of Fortaleza and circulated in local newspapers, the
between Iracema and Meireles Beaches (Maia et al., 1998).                              cost of reconstructing the affected areas is very high and Fortaleza


    Please cite this article in press as: Paula, D.P., et al., High-rise development of the sea-front at Fortaleza (Brazil): Perspectives on its valuation and
    consequences, Ocean  Coastal Management (2012), doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.03.004
D.P. Paula et al. / Ocean  Coastal Management xxx (2012) 1e10                                         5


                                                                                          buildings per year in 1980, 3.3 in 1990). In 2009, there were around
                                                                                          77 buildings, two of which were in the final stages of construction
                                                                                          (Fig. 2). The rate of construction between the 1980s and 1990s was
                                                                                          the highest in history, reaching a figure of 7.1 buildings per year,
                                                                                          driven by investments in tourism and the concentration of the elite
                                                                                          in this stretch of the city. The hectic pace of growth slowed in the
                                                                                          2000s due to the lack of spaces suitable for construction.

                                                                                          4.2.2. Distribution of buildings
                                                                                              The number of buildings per block is variable (1e19), reflecting
                                                                                          an average occupancy rate of 4.6 buildings/block. The number of
                                                                                          buildings per block increases in from Iracema Beach to Mucuripe
                                                                                          Harbor, i.e. from the sector that suffered the greatest erosion
                                                                                          toward the least affected. The buildings also feature different forms
                                                                                          of use, with special emphasis on residential (54.5%) and hotel
                                                                                          facilities (20.8%) (Fig. 3).
                                                                                              The data reveal that the tourist sea-front is mainly residential,
Fig. 2. Number of high-rise buildings constructed on Beira Mar Avenue between the         although commercial and hotel facilities have increased over the
1960s and 2000s.                                                                          last decade. Mucuripe Beach has the largest number of buildings
                                                                                          (37 units), almost 50% of the total sample. Meireles Beach, to the
                                                                                          west, has one third of all the buildings, while Náutico Beach, in the
spent more than 200 million Reais (more than U.S. $120 million) in                        central sector, has 18% of the buildings. On the whole extension of
the 2000s on such works. It is estimated that, by 2014, over R$400                        the sea front, only two blocks are primarily residential (B3-Meireles
million will be spent (U.S. $400 million), exacerbating the level of                      Beach and B13-Mucuripe Beach).
environmental modification, and probably reaching an unsustain-                                The buildings are 14.5 floors high on average. The Mucuripe area
able level of economic expenditure. Today, the Fortaleza sea-front is                     is home to the tallest buildings of all (26 floors) (Fig. 4). This area
totally modified by residential and commercial buildings, hotels,                          also has six buildings that exceeded the allowable height limit for
flats, restaurants, recreational clubs and unyielding protective                           constructions on the sea-front. Only two buildings exceeded the
structures.                                                                               limit in the area of Meireles and Náutico, while other buildings are
                                                                                          in accordance with state law However, it is also at this area that the
4.2. Evolution of urbanization/verticalization                                            largest number of low-rise buildings (up to 5 floors) is found on the
                                                                                          sea front e a church, two houses and ten commercial outlets
4.2.1. Verticalization rate                                                               (shops, bars and restaurants). Maia et al. (1996) have observed that
    The first high-rise buildings (more than 12 floors) were built in                       between 1974 and 1994 there was a decrease in average wind
the 1970s near the fish market in the area of Mucuripe, the tradi-                         speeds of 1.1 m/s and an average temperature rise of 0.8  C in the
tional domain of fishermen and their rafts. According to data from                         city. Their period of analysis coincides with the peak of high-rise
SECOVI-CE, it is estimated that the average construction rate was 1.6                     development along the sea-front of Fortaleza, but further evalua-
buildings per year between 1960 and 2000, varying over time (2.7                          tion of the data still needs to be made to make sure that the




                                    Fig. 3. Distribution of buildings by use category along the touristic beach front of Fortaleza in 2010.



 Please cite this article in press as: Paula, D.P., et al., High-rise development of the sea-front at Fortaleza (Brazil): Perspectives on its valuation and
 consequences, Ocean  Coastal Management (2012), doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.03.004
6                                                      D.P. Paula et al. / Ocean  Coastal Management xxx (2012) 1e10


                                                                                         During high-energy events, damage or threats to human occupa-
                                                                                         tion prompt the reconstruction, reinforcing and amplification of
                                                                                         coastal engineering structures, which in turn maintain or reinforce
                                                                                         the economic and tourism value of adjacent spaces.
                                                                                             The poorly planned of coastal land and rapid development of the
                                                                                         coast has decreased the environmental quality of beaches and
                                                                                         consequently there has been a reduction in the competitive
                                                                                         advantage these tourist areas in relation to tourist areas where the
                                                                                         coast is better preserved. Along sea-front intense high-rise devel-
                                                                                         opment has led to an increasingly artificial coastal zone. This
                                                                                         process is associated with the transformation of natural spaces into
                                                                                         humanized ones.
                                                                                             Increasing human pressure on the coastal zone and the unsus-
                                                                                         tainable use are incompatible with the support capacity of these
                                                                                         environments, which will certainly be reflected in the artificiality of
                                                                                         the landscape and consequent of environmental impacts (e.g.:
Fig. 4. Distribution of buildings by number of floors for each urban block along the
                                                                                         urban flooding, landslide, rise in temperature, coastal erosion and
touristic beachfront of Fortaleza in 2010.                                               marine pollution).
                                                                                             In the specific case of the tourist cities, there was an increase of
                                                                                         urbanization by the sea due to high-rise development of the sea-
temperature variation was not regional, and, in this case, not                           front. Urban development has exacerbated the problems of coastal
attributable to urbanization.                                                            erosion on the main tourist beaches of Brazil. In many cases
                                                                                         (including Fortaleza, Recife, Jaboatão dos Guararapes, Rio de Janeiro,
4.2.3. Distribution of vacant land and valuation of buildings                            Balneário Camboriú) the coastline itself is defined by urbanization
    Currently, there are no blocks on the touristic sea-front occupied                   (e.g.: buildings line, sidewalk, avenue and road). Coastal vulnera-
by houses (low-rise construction) that could be demolished by the                        bility is thus defined by the degree of coastal urbanization (Fig. 5).
high-rise building industry, as was the case on the edge of Boa                          With urbanization close to the sea, waves more easily reach urban
Viagem in Recife, Brazil (Costa et al., 2008). Vacant lots along the                     infrastructure and endanger drainage systems, sewers, lamp post,
sea-front were completely built over by 2008. By analyzing aerial                        roads, cycle lane, squares, fish markets, statues, houses, buildings
photographs and satellite images, it can be seen that in 1995 there                      and sidewalks. Governments are then forced to invest in coastal
were only 10 empty lots suitable for construction, and these were                        protection to prevent damage to property. Devaluation of public and
all used up by 2008. From 1995 to 2003, there was a reduction of                         private property is likely to decrease the tourism attractiveness of
70% in vacant areas. Most of the land was used for the construction                      the city, impacting heavily on the municipality’s.
of office and residential buildings. Due to the lack of space, spec-                          The advance of the sea in some regions has resulted in the
ulative investors, represented by large construction companies,                          destruction of urban infrastructure. To prevent coastal impacts and
began to purchase low-rise buildings (up to 5 floors) and demolish                        allow beach recovery, beach nourishment was carried out in some
them for new ventures. The main targets were social clubs: of the                        areas (e.g.: Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Flamengo
three clubs existing in the 1990s, only one remained in 2011.                            Embankment-RJ in Rio de Janeiro, Piçarras Beach in Santa Catarina
    If this mode of construction were to continue, we envisage that 14                   and Iracema Beach in Ceará). Beach nourishment is an attempt to
high-rise buildings could still be constructed along Fortaleza’s sea-                    artificially stabilize a naturally migrating shoreline. Artificially
front (two on Meireles Beach, five on Náutico Beach and seven on                          renourished shorelines provide two benefits: increased area for
Mucuripe Beach). It is important to consider that this estimate can                      recreation and greater protection against coastal storms.
only take effect through the purchase and demolition of existing                             In Pernambuco a proposal for beach nourishment between the
low-rise buildings. The scarcity of land suitable for construction                       cities of Jaboatão dos Guararapes and Recife (more than 20 km of
boosted the short-term value of seaside property. According to the                       coastline) is the subject of current debate. The coastal work will
Regional Board of Realtors of Ceará (CRECI), land value on the                           cost several billion dollars. The high costs to keep the coast safe and
beachfront has increased more than 80% in the last 40 years.                             with sufficient environment quality to attract tourism must be
    There are properties located in the Meireles and Mucuripe                            covered by the state, since Brazilian Government is solely respon-
neighborhoods whose prices exceed R$8000/m2 (over U.S. $4800/                            sible for investments in coastal protection. This demonstrates the
m2). The high value of these properties is related to natural features                   long-term unsustainability of economic activities that are incom-
(ocean view) and the proximity to essential services, such as                            patible with the support capacity of beaches.
pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, schools, day-care centers, colleges,                         Considering a scenario where the coast is hit by a high energy
supermarkets, banks, malls, department stores and restaurants. The                       event (sea storm) that exceeds the protections capacity of coastal
Mucuripe and Meireles neighborhoods are the most expensive in                            engineering structures, destruction of public property (road, side-
Fortaleza, as they offer all the essential services in addition to an                    walk and power poles), private homes and beach huts and coastal
ocean view.                                                                              flooding are inevitable. The tendency is then to reconstruct these
                                                                                         defensive structures, making them larger, stronger and “safer”,
4.2.4. Seaward advance of the urban boundary                                             amplifying the sense of security and thus creating a feedback
    The complete artificial stabilization of the coastline has facili-                    process whose consequences are difficult to estimate. In the case of
tated the process of touristic economic development of the sea-                          Fortaleza, retreating urban facilities would be an uneconomical
front in Fortaleza. At the same time, this development has signifi-                       short- to medium-term option because of the high associated costs.
cantly contributed to strengthening the coastal engineering struc-                       This must be viewed in the light of the impetus, now rather slight,
tures that define the shoreline. An expensive feedback loop has                           to further advance urbanization toward the sea through land
thus been created. The coastal engineering structures provide                            reclamation, rip-raps and groynes, which, when established, will
occupation security and therefore raise the value of urban spaces.                       make the sustainable use of natural resources completely


    Please cite this article in press as: Paula, D.P., et al., High-rise development of the sea-front at Fortaleza (Brazil): Perspectives on its valuation and
    consequences, Ocean  Coastal Management (2012), doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.03.004
D.P. Paula et al. / Ocean  Coastal Management xxx (2012) 1e10                                                         7




Fig. 5. High-rise development along Brazilian coastline. In Fortaleza (A) and Jaboatão dos Guararapes (B) the coastline is defined by groynes, rip-raps, sidewalks and buildings.




unfeasible. The hand-in-hand relationship between coastal engi-                            sidewalks, historical sculptures, and urban roads) and private
neering structures and high-rise development means that the                                interest (beach huts, hotels, houses, shops, restaurants and bars) in
coastline is increasingly suffering from human intervention                                the event of a large storm (Fig. 6B). Muehe (2001) emphasizes that
(building of larger structures) and the natural coastal systems have                       construction on sandy soil and beach strips with a width of less
been completely altered.                                                                   than 150 m should be avoided due to the risk of flooding and
    The average seaward advance of the urban boundary was 174 m                            erosion by waves.
between the years 1972 and 2008, representing an average change                                Buildings on Beira Mar Avenue are, on average, 75 m away from
of 4.8 m/year (Fig. 6A). The blocks that migrated the most were B14                        the maximum spring tide level. In some places that distance is only
(7.2 m/year), B15 (8.8 m/year) and B16 (7.1 m/year). The last two                          25 m, i.e. Meireles Beach. Between the first row of buildings and the
blocks are located on Mucuripe Beach, which has undergone major                            artificial coastline lie the Beira Mar Avenue, its sidewalk, and beach
transformations in the 1990s, as it was the stretch with the highest                       huts. Beira Mar Avenue is on average 10 m wide and 62 m from the
number of spaces suitable for construction. Disorderly advance of                          high tide line. The sidewalk is on average 12 m wide and 50 m away
urban facilities on coastline increases the risk of property damage                        from the spring high tide level. In some stretches, like on Meireles
in areas of technological (e.g.: Mucuripe Harbor), public (e.g.:                           Beach, this distance is reduced to 15 m. Beach huts are on average


 Please cite this article in press as: Paula, D.P., et al., High-rise development of the sea-front at Fortaleza (Brazil): Perspectives on its valuation and
 consequences, Ocean  Coastal Management (2012), doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.03.004
8                                                          D.P. Paula et al. / Ocean  Coastal Management xxx (2012) 1e10




Fig. 6. Seaward advance of the urban boundary per block (A) and zoning of the areas of interest (B) along the touristic sea-front of Fortaleza. The front-line of constructed buildings
as of 1972 is also shown for reference.


40 m from the reach of the tide and waves, making them vulnerable                             of more than 2 km) (Paula et al., 2008). During storms, it is clear
in the event of sea storms.                                                                   that the advance of urbanization increases the vulnerability of the
    The urban front of Fortaleza is exposed to ocean storm events                             coast to wave energy, causing physical damage such as destruction
when swell waves cause a build-up of water mass along the coast,                              of the sidewalk, flooding of the avenue and the infiltration of water
thus causing a local sea-level rise that may overtop the first artifi-                          into electrical conduits, causing blackouts in the lampposts that
cial line (4.6 m above hydrographic zero, over a long shore distance                          illuminate the shore.




                        Fig. 7. Waves crashing over the sidewalk and flooding Iracema Beach during the storm of December, 2009. Source: Rapha Bessa.



    Please cite this article in press as: Paula, D.P., et al., High-rise development of the sea-front at Fortaleza (Brazil): Perspectives on its valuation and
    consequences, Ocean  Coastal Management (2012), doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.03.004
D.P. Paula et al. / Ocean  Coastal Management xxx (2012) 1e10                                                             9


   Observation of a storm like the one that took place in Fortaleza                 expansion of adjacent urban areas, increased high-rise develop-
between March 18 and 24, 2011, in which urban structures were                       ment, and raised land prices on the sea-front. Despite the coast
easily reached, allows us to identify three areas of impact e the first              having been made fully artificial through coastal engineering
zone lies between Iracema and Meireles beaches (west), where                        structures, the constructed properties are not fully protected from
marine flooding by overtopping often occurs (Fig. 7); the second                     the action of sea storms, which destroy roads, sidewalks and homes,
zone is restricted to the stretch of Náutico Beach (central), in which              and cause coastal flooding. Following any failure of these engi-
the morphology of the beach is altered; and the third zone is sit-                  neering structures, there is a tendency to rebuild them into larger,
uated on Mucuripe Beach (east), where the waves reach the edge of                   stronger and “safer” structures, which, in turn, further increase this
the sidewalk, and there is no overtopping of the first artificial line.               sense of security.
                                                                                        High-rise development of Fortaleza’s coastline is nearly
4.3. Problems of high-rise urban development                                        complete, and there are no more spaces available. The next stage
                                                                                    will be the demolition of older high-rise buildings (5e12 floors), to
    The unregulated development of the sea front of Fortaleza has                   provide room for much taller buildings (30 floors). In this process,
led to a scarcity of green spaces, which have been replaced by                      the northern coast of Fortaleza is likely to lose its touristic appeal,
asphalt pavement and concrete, materials that retain heat and                       and tourists will increasingly seek alternatives in adjacent areas
increase the temperature in the city, leading to thermal discomfort                 (Praia do Futuro and Barra do Ceará) or nearby (Beach Park and
for the communities living on the outskirts. Covering the city in                   Cumbuco). It seems conceivable that, given the other viable
impermeable materials, such as asphalt and concrete, helps to                       alternatives, the north coast of Fortaleza will be avoided by beach
increase the risk of flooding, as both storm water and sea water can                 tourism operators in the medium term, possibly resulting in its
accumulate near the coastline, as has already occurred at Iracema                   economic devaluation (at least in the adjacent and nearby areas).
Beach. Another factor contributing to increased flood-risk in areas                      In the short, Fortaleza’s tourist coast (high-rise development of
of Fortaleza is the extensive excavation of sand ridges for numerous                the sea-front) will extend westward to enable the city to host the
sea-front constructions.                                                            World Cup 2014. New tourist infrastructure (e.g.: hotel, resorts,
    An unsavory result of the intense urbanization of the city,                     restaurant) is required to accommodate the expected visitors. The
especially the sea-front, is that the sewerage network has failed to                result will be major changes in the landscape to its appropriation by
cope with the growing population (more than 2.5 million inhabi-                     private interests, as well as significant impacts on the social and
tants), causing wastewater to be illegally dumped into storm water                  economic fabric of the city. In the future, economic interests,
drains. Once this water reaches rivers and beaches, the pollution                   tourism potential and environmental quality should be carefully
exceeds the allowable health limits for bathing. Beaches on the                     weighed up by planning authorities, allowing a true estimate of the
tourist coast have elevated concentrations of fecal coliforms linked                sustainability or otherwise of the current model of high-rise coastal
to storm water carrying sewage (e.g.: Silva et al., 2009).                          development.
    According to Bulletin No. 18/2011 of the State Bureau of
Environment (SEMACE, 2011), which reports weekly ratings of
the coastline, Iracema and Mucuripe beaches were unsuitable                         Acknowledgements
for bathing between April 4 and May 2, 2011. In addition, the
increased production of domestic garbage eventually clogs drains                        The authors would like to acknowledge the support of Conselho
and prevents the flow of sediment to the beach.                                      Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico-CNPq
    The poorly planned occupation of coastal areas has led to arti-                 (479255/2009-1) and Fundação Cearense de Apoio ao Desenvolvi-
ficiality of the landscape, reducing environmental resilience. The                   mento Científico e Tecnológico-FUNCAP (Support Program for
construction of urban infrastructure and stabilizations of sand                     Centers of Excellence-PRONEX). Davis Pereira de Paula was sup-
dunes have contributed to an imbalance in sediment supply to the                    ported by FUNCAP. We would like to thank the teachers and
beaches of the north coast of Fortaleza. The intensification of                      students of the Laboratório de Geologia e Geomorfologia Costeira e
urbanization on the sea-front has effectively fixed the backshore                    Oceânica (Univ. Estadual do Ceará) and the Centro de Investigação
zone, interfering with the natural mobilization of sediment                         Marinha e Ambiental (Univ. Algarve). The authors are grateful to
between the emerged and submerged beach. The loss of the                            Dr. Simon Connor for the English revision of the document.
coastline’s ability to move makes it more vulnerable to severe
erosion in the event of a storm.
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 Please cite this article in press as: Paula, D.P., et al., High-rise development of the sea-front at Fortaleza (Brazil): Perspectives on its valuation and
 consequences, Ocean  Coastal Management (2012), doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.03.004

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Ocma2958 proof

  • 1. Ocean & Coastal Management xxx (2012) 1e10 Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect Ocean & Coastal Management journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/ocecoaman High-rise development of the sea-front at Fortaleza (Brazil): Perspectives on its valuation and consequences D.P. Paula a, b, *, J.M.A. Dias a, b, Ó. Ferreira a, J.O. Morais b a CIMA, Universidade do Algarve, Campus de Gambelas, 8005 Faro, Portugal b Universidade Estadual do Ceará/PROPGEO/LGCO, Av. Paranjana 1700, Campus do Itaperi, Fortaleza, Ceará 60740000, Brazil a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t Article history: Occupation of the Fortaleza’s coastline began in the 17th century following the arrival of the Dutch and Available online xxx subsequent construction of the fortress after which the city is named. Urban development of the coast began in the early 19th century. The processes of occupation and urbanization along Fortaleza’s coastline is inseparable from the history of the port and its environmental impacts (silting-up and erosion). Currently, the coast studied is one of Brazil’s most developed, densely populated and most heavily modified by coastal engineering structures. Urban development accelerated in the 1980s due to tourism activities and led to the expansion of high-rise construction along the beachfront. Intensive occupation thus replaced extensive occupation. This paper explores Fortaleza’s urban development from two perspectives. Firstly, we use historical data to document the process of high-rise development on the tourist sea-front and the modification of the same coast with coastal engineering structures designed to contain erosion triggered by the construction of Mucuripe Harbor. Secondly, we collected field data on the current urban fabric (including the distribution of high-rise buildings, land prices and land use) and used these data to analyze urban growth and human pressure on the coastal zone, especially the For- taleza sea-front. Extensive artificial modification of the coast has enabled Fortaleza to develop into one of the most important tourist resorts in Brazil. In turn, this increased economic activity has allowed increasingly extensive and costly coastal engineering structures to be built in the area. Ó 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. 1. Introduction people live within 100 km of coastline at elevations below 100 m, where population density is about 3 times greater than the global Sandy beaches prevail on exposed coastlines around the world average (Small and Nicholls, 2003). In Brazil, for example, coastline (Bascom, 1980). Currently they are favored sites for recreation and extends for 8500 km including 300 coastal municipalities. Four of the development of economic activities such as beach tourism (e.g.: the ten (40%) largest metropolitan areas of the Brazil are located on Klein et al., 2004) and, as a consequence, they are highly valued and the sea-front, including Fortaleza. Half of the population (more sought after by modern society as a place for primary, secondary or than 90 million people) lives less than 200 km from the sea (Araújo temporary residence (Parsons and Powell, 2001). This attraction and Costa, 2008). Rapid population growth has been followed by toward the coastal zone has triggered intense population growth, a process of disorganized urbanization of coastal areas (Muehe, causing significant expansion of urbanized areas (both in area and 2004). height) and great human pressure on beaches (Brown and The high level of population density in coastal areas reduces the McLachlan, 2002). environmental resilience of beach, especially in urban zones. Here The impacts of urbanization on coastal areas have been widely tourism has contributed to massive occupation of the coast, which discussed in literature (e.g.: Turner et al., 1996; Dias and Ferreira, has resulted in decrease in environmental quality at recreational 1997; Nicholls and Small, 2002; Sealeum et al., 2007; Ariza et al., beaches (Sealeum et al., 2007; Cervantes and Espejel, 2008; Araújo 2008; Silva et al., 2008). Recent estimates show that 1.2 billion and Costa, 2008). In developed countries beaches are commonly seen as spaces for leisure and entertainment by modern society (Ariza et al., 2008). Whereas in developing countries (e.g.: Brazil) * Corresponding author. Universidade Estadual do Ceará, Av. Paranjana 1700, Campus do Itaperi, Fortaleza, Geografia, Ceará 60740000, Brazil. Tel.: þ55 85 beaches are often used for commodity exchange. Beaches therefore 32633478; fax: þ55 85 31019885. represent two interacting subsystems: one natural and the other E-mail addresses: davispp@yahoo.com.br, davispp@hotmail.com (D.P. Paula). socioeconomic (Araújo and Costa, 2008). 0964-5691/$ e see front matter Ó 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.03.004 Please cite this article in press as: Paula, D.P., et al., High-rise development of the sea-front at Fortaleza (Brazil): Perspectives on its valuation and consequences, Ocean & Coastal Management (2012), doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.03.004
  • 2. 2 D.P. Paula et al. / Ocean & Coastal Management xxx (2012) 1e10 Coastal development, along with impacts of human activities In many Brazilian cities the maximum height limitation on in watersheds, has often led to a sharp decrease in sediment buildings on the sea-front was established in the 1990s, prior to this supply to coasts, resulting in coastal retreat and beach erosion. time there was only regulation on the construction site. The Land This has further caused the destruction of housing, community Law (1960s) stipulated that in most coast cities, including Fortaleza, facilities and financial investments (e.g.: Bird, 2000; Dias, 2005; all residential areas located on the sea-front and next to the river Ferreira et al., 2008). must had a maximum building height of three (3) to four (4) floors. Urban beaches are increasingly sandwiched between growing Presently, for most of the coastal cities of Brazil (e.g.: Fortaleza, urban areas on the continental side and the action of waves and Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Balneário Camboriú) the limit allowed for tides on the ocean side. Under such conditions, beaches lose their buildings on the sea-front varies from 60 m (20 floors) to 75 m (25 resilience, rapidly changing in shape and extension in response to floors). In Fortaleza’s specific case, this limit is 72 m (24 floors). high-energy events (Klein et al., 2003). Human-induced changes, Carleial and Araújo (2011) point out that high-rise build-up in like the urbanization of areas too close to the shoreline, not only Fortaleza was linked to economic activities in the industrial sector, profoundly alter the natural environment, but also sooner or later extending to high-income neighborhoods for residential, and later are themselves threatened by beach dynamics. This occurs later commercial, purposes. Somekh (1997) calls this process the especially during high-energy events, generally prompting the multiplication of urban land, made possible by the elevator. Thus, construction of hard coastal engineering works (e.g.: Dias, 1990). verticality is said to be linked to the intensive use of urban land These cause changes in coastal characteristics and dynamics, (density) and the pattern of technological development. reducing beaches’ ability to adapt to natural events, and directly This study analyzes the major changes that occurred along the interfering in their sedimentary balance (e.g.: Dias, 1990; Swenson Fortaleza shoreline between the 1960s and 2000s, aiming at and Franklin, 2000; Nordstrom, 2000; Hansen, 2010). understanding how human interference (intensive urbanization e Intensive urban development took place in Fortaleza in the connected largely to touristic activities) contributed to the mass 1980s, a period in which Fortaleza’s economic interests shifted occupation of the coast and its associated impacts. from the hinterland and began to focus almost entirely on the coast (Dantas, 2002). Thus it ceased to be a harbor city and became one of 2. Materials and methods the most sought after tourist destinations in Brazil. This trans- formation was ruled by the intense urbanization of the coastline Information on all urban facilities along the Beira Mar Avenue starting in the late 1960s and peaking in the 1980s (Vasconcelos (Fortaleza) was recorded during fieldwork carried out in 2010. A and Coriolano, 2008). Between 1960s and 2011 Fortaleza’s pop- Differential Global Positioning System (DGPSGTRG2/GLONASS) ulation grew more than 250%. During the first 10 years of the 21st with a precision of 10 mm/1 ppm (kinematic module) was used to century Fortaleza’s population has grown more than the national record the information about the buildings located along the sea- average. Fortaleza is the 5th most populous municipality (2,447,409 front. Information collected included geographic coordinates, peoples) in Brazil (IBGE, 2010). This growth was achieved due to types of building (office, residence, institutional, mixed, hotel and public and private investments in urban (e.g.: harbor, airport, rail- others), name of the building, number of floors, year of construction road and freeway) and tourist (e.g.: hotel, resort, restaurant and and maximum distance from the coastline, the width of the beach night club) infrastructure. sidewalk and its distance from the highest tide line. This informa- Along Fortaleza’s shoreline, coastal erosion and the encroach- tion was inserted into a database in a Geographic Information ment of the urban area have turned a natural landscape into System GIS. The geographical identification of the buildings and a heavily urbanized cityscape where, through hard coastal engi- their use allowed to map zones of interest (e.g.: Public, private and neering structures (groynes, harbors, marinas, jetties and land technological). Moreover, the buildings geographic distribution reclamation), the current coastline has become completely artificial. allowed to identify occupied blocks and their occupation type (e.g.: The way of life in cities with such a high degree of urbanization residential, tourist and commercial activities). promotes distinct social patterns and physical structures. The The rate of verticalization and value (per square meter) was intense flow of capital and people, and limitations on physical calculated from documents made available by the City Hall of For- space, lead to high-rise construction. This type of construction was taleza (PMF), the Regional Council of Realtors (CRECI), the Union of adopted during the industrial revolution in Europe, where three- to Enterprises for Buying, Selling, Leasing and Managing Property of six-story buildings appeared in major cities (Mascaró and Ceará (SECOVI-CE), and information found in newspapers. These Yoshinaga, 2005). In the U.S.A, this type of construction was data showed some inaccuracies in the field and were corrected as adopted in the 19th century in the cities of Chicago, New York and required. The rate of construction was determined by the ratio Manhattan Island. The first of these constructions rose to more than between the number of buildings built and the number of years 100 m (or more than 30 floors). In Brazil, high-rise construction at under analysis (10, in this case, since the scale used is based on coastal areas started in 1920 in the cities of São Paulo (Santos decades). Beach) and Rio de Janeiro (Copacabana Beach). In the cities of NE To quantify vacant land and the advancement of the urban front, Brazil, constructions of buildings on sea-front started in aerial photographs of Fortaleza (1968, 1972, 1978, 1995 and 2004), 1950se1960s (e.g.: Fortaleza, Recife and Salvador). TM-LANDSAT (1978, 1980, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2004 and 2005) This form of development, also referred to as verticalization, is and QuickBird images (2003 and 2010) were used. This imagery was characterized by the replacement of urban constructions (houses) converted to the same projection and datum and analyzed using and open spaces by intensive or multifamily buildings. This process, ARCGIS 9 software. Each geographic item recorded was assigned to common in modern urban structure, is more prevalent in areas of one or more categories for incorporation into the database, allowing intense market speculation. In Fortaleza, this occurs mainly in the items with similar land-uses to be extracted and analyzed. area surrounding the Beira Mar Avenue, built in 1963 and extend- We calculated the distance between the urban front (buildings, ing from Iracema Beach to Mucuripe Beach, and where the main blocks, sidewalks and stalls) and the maximum wave run-up level clubs, hotels, flats and restaurants are found. In Rio de Janeiro, high- on the day of the experiment by inserting the coordinates collected rise processes on the sea-front intensified after the Copacabana in the field into a georeferenced base-map of the area. Distances Palace hotel construction (Copacabana Beach) in 1923 (Ficher, from each urban structure and the maximum wave run-up were 1994). then calculated. Please cite this article in press as: Paula, D.P., et al., High-rise development of the sea-front at Fortaleza (Brazil): Perspectives on its valuation and consequences, Ocean & Coastal Management (2012), doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.03.004
  • 3. D.P. Paula et al. / Ocean & Coastal Management xxx (2012) 1e10 3 3. Study area Mucuripe (2.9 km). Immediately adjacent to and connecting these beaches is the Beira Mar Avenue (Fig. 1). Seventeen geometrically The study area is in the city of Fortaleza, the capital of Ceará State, dissimilar blocks are strung along the landward side of the avenue. Northeast Brazil. The city faces the equatorial Atlantic Ocean with Sandy beaches are situated between Mucuripe Harbor (east) and 34 km of sandy beaches and has an average altitude of 21 m above Iracema Beach. About 90% of the coastline is affected by hard sea level (IBGE, 2010). The geographical position of the city, located coastal engineering structures (Valentini and Rosman, 1992). just below the equator, makes it a popular tourist destination for Beira Mar beaches are at present characterized by a narrow strip Europeans and Americans. Fortaleza has the highest population of sand, averaging 45 m wide, with wider beaches in the middle density among the Brazilian state capitals: about 8000 inhabitants sector and narrower ones to the east. There is a stretch of 300 m per square kilometer. The city experiences a semi-arid climate with between Náutico Beach and Mucuripe Beach, known as the Volta da rather small temperature amplitude (average maximum: 30 ; Jurema, which has no beach, but only rocky outcrops (beach rocks) average minimum 24 ). Its climatic conditions are influenced by the averaging 30 m in width and submerged at high tide. According to Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) and variations in the Paula et al. (2008), Beira Mar beaches are intermediate in type, seasonal phenomena of El Niño (which occurs in the dry season) and tending toward more reflective stages during storm events, La Niña (marked by rainfall above the regional multi-annual apparently as a consequence of the coastline’s high degree of arti- average). Geologically, the city sits on the quartz sand sediments of ficial modification. the coastal plain, consisting of beach and marine terraces, mobile The touristic Beira Mar sea-front of Fortaleza is located in and fixed sand dunes and fluvialemarine plains. a region with a population density of 8200 inhabitants/km2, The tidal regime is semidiurnal meso-tidal, ranging from 0.5 m reaching 12,000 inhabitants/km2 at Mucuripe Beach. The average to 3.87 m (INPH, 1996). For 95% of the year, waves approach from monthly income of the population that lives along Beira Mar the east (90 ), with dominant significant wave heights of less than Avenue is R$2500 (U.S. $1506). However Náutico Beach residents 1.5 m and wave periods of less than 10 s. Waves from the northeast have an average income of R$4000 (U.S. $2409), five times the occur occasionally (5% of the time) with significant height greater average income of Fortaleza as a whole: R$ 800 (U.S. $482) (IBGE, than 1.5 m, and average period of 12 s (INPH, 2002). These waves 2010). are largely responsible for beach erosion (Melo et al., 1995). The prevailing winds consistently come from EeSE at an average speed 4. Results and discussion of 4 m/s, but can reach 7 m/s in the second half of the year (Maia et al., 1996). 4.1. The historic processes Fortaleza has more than 30 km de coastline, which is limited by Pacoti (east) and Ceará (west) rivers. Only a 7.5 km stretch of beach The origins of urban development in Fortaleza can be traced is considered in this study, corresponding to the traditional tour- back to 1649 AD, when the Dutch constructed the Schoonemborch istic sea-front e the north coast e comprising the following bea- Fortress on the banks of the Pajeú Creek. Fortaleza was promoted to ches: Iracema (2.1 km), Meireles (1.5 km), Náutico (1.0 km) and the status of city in 1726. However, intensive occupation of the Fig. 1. Location of the Fortaleza study area in NW Brazil. Please cite this article in press as: Paula, D.P., et al., High-rise development of the sea-front at Fortaleza (Brazil): Perspectives on its valuation and consequences, Ocean Coastal Management (2012), doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.03.004
  • 4. 4 D.P. Paula et al. / Ocean Coastal Management xxx (2012) 1e10 coastal area of Fortaleza only began in the early nineteenth century In the process of coastal development in Fortaleza, it is impor- and was linked to the construction of the city’s harbor. The first tant to bear in mind the occurrence of drought episodes, which are berth of Fortaleza, of a temporary character, was made of wood and characteristic events in Ceará. For example, the year 1951 was stone and was built in 1804 in the area of Prainha (east of Praia de a drought year, with precipitation reduced to only 747 mm for the Iracema) (Espindola, 1978). In 1844 it was replaced by another one, region as a whole (Morettin et al., 1993). Some locations had resting on wooden piles, located in the vicinity of the current Poço considerably lower rainfall than this average value. As highlighted da Draga, Iracema Beach (Meyll, 1930). by newspapers of the time (Nobre, 1973), there was a strong urban These first port facilities quickly became inoperable due to growth that year because labor was cheap and there was an pronounced silting-up. The problem was so intense that in 1860s it increase in rents, a strong incentive to build. Sources related to the was no longer possible to embark at low tide (Morais, 1972). At this government (Souza, 1979) calculated that, during that period, close point, the city was clustered around the port infrastructure, the to eighty million Cruzeiros (more than U.S. $90,000 at the time) was coastal front only occupying around 3 km (today’s historical center) spent building the city. near Iracema Beach. Along the coast east of this area (today’s Following an episode of severe coastal erosion, the urban facil- touristic sea-front), extensive dunes stretched from the coastline ities of Iracema Beach migrated to Meireles Beach, where less far into the interior. erosion was observed. According to the technical report of the 4th In order to solve the silting-up problems, a 670-m breakwater District of Ports, Rivers and Canals (DPRPC), erosion of these bea- (known as the Hawkshaw Breakwater) was constructed (Valentini ches was responsible for the first house collapses in the history of and Rosman, 1992). However, these works increased the silting Ceará (Parente, 1965). As a temporary solution, the State Govern- process to the point where a shoal formed along the eastern side of ment authorized the construction of three rip-rap seawalls the breakwater, while a shallow sandbank completely occupied the between Iracema and Meireles beaches in 1963 and six groynes on port basin. This is visible in the French Navy hydrographic chart of the west coast. 1867, in which the completed Hawkshaw Breakwater is shown (the Jucá (2000), based on newspaper reports of the time, estimated only artificial intervention to the coastline at the time). Morais that about 200 m of beach were eroded in a period of 10 years, with (1972) point out that the low waterline moved 400 m out to sea an average erosion rate of about 20 m/year. Presumably this was from its previous location, some 130 m from the present location of one of the highest erosion rates recorded on the Ceará coast during Beira Mar Avenue. In an attempt to reduce coastal sediment supply, the last two centuries. Contrary to what could have been expected, several dunes were vegetated to curtail aeolian transport. Groynes elite landowners were slow to shift from Iracema Beach to Meireles, were also built, but the problem persisted. despite all the problems related to coastal erosion. In 1899, a new port structure (known as the Metal Bridge), was During the 1970s, erosion problems continued along the coast of built updrift of the Hawkshaw Breakwater. The structure Fortaleza. According to Salim (1998), by 1975 the coastline of For- (completely permeable) did not induce sediment accumulation, taleza was artificially altered by 12 groynes, 4 rip-rap seawalls, 2 thus avoiding silting-up problems. Port warehouses were even bridges, an oil jetty and 2 breakwaters, spread between Mucuripe built over the adjacent dunes with the aim of diminishing aeolian Harbor and the mouth of the Ceará River. In the late 1970s, the west transport to the harbour basin. Nevertheless, the occupation coast of Fortaleza was totally artificial, being mainly defined by remained restricted to the port area and urban expansion coastal hard engineering structures constructed in response to continued toward the city center. erosion triggered by construction of the port. After thirty years, structural problems on the Metal Bridge Thanks to the sense of security lent by the coastal-defense hard posed safety risks to the arrival and departure of people and goods structures, occupation of the seaside zone increased, namely to/from Fortaleza. The structure no longer met the social, economic through the construction of Beira Mar Avenue and the replacement and commercial demands of the city, and was decommissioned. of extensive low-rise buildings (houses) by intensive, high-rise The port began to be transferred to Mucuripe Bay in 1933, a site developments. This happened mainly in the area between Náu- previously occupied only by fishing communities (Morais, 1981). tico and Meireles beaches. The 1980s and 1990s were marked by Two decades before, the Mucuripe dunes had been stabilized with the massive occupation of the coastal zone driven by tourism. This vegetation, possibly with the dual purpose of preventing the sand intensified the process of high-rise development of the sea-front. In from reaching the city via easterly winds, and allowing the 1998, the construction of the International Airport of Fortaleza expansion of the urban agglomeration. confirmed the status of the city as a major tourist destination in The basic infrastructure for Mucuripe Port was completed in Brazil, indirectly enhancing Beira Mar’s occupation density. 1938. However, the main protective structure- the Titan jetty/ On the other hand, the growth of the city led to stabilization of breakwater- did not prevent harbor silting-up problems as expec- the dune fields and the canalization of rivers and urban streams, ted (Pitombeira, 1976). In fact, it induced intense coastal erosion of affecting the vulnerable balance of sediments on the coastline e Iracema Beach, where the old port was located. These were the first Coastal erosion thus intensified. The same situation was observed coastal erosion problems recorded along the Fortaleza coastline. In by Costa et al. (2008) on the shoreline of Boa Viagem Beach in Recife an attempt to stop this erosion, four rip-rap groynes were built (NE Brazil). The 2000s were characterized by the intensification of prior to 1945. More or less simultaneously, Fortaleza’s urban area high-rise construction as a model for the urban development of the started to expand toward Mucuripe Harbor (east), occupying more city, especially the touristic sea-front. This process brought new than 6 km of shore front. Since that time, Fortaleza’s population has investment in urban infrastructure, with the aim of adapting the increased by 463% (data from the year 2000: IBGE, 2010). In the coastal area to the demands of the tourism industry and the 1950s the Titan breakwater was extended to 1910 m and the requirements for hosting the 2014 World Cup. Titanzinho (Little Titan) groyne (1 km long) was built at Praia do Urbanization is a major determinant of the vulnerability of the Futuro, immediately updrift of the Titan, in order to retain littoral coastline to high-energy events (storms). In this case, it is impor- drift and avoid harbor siltation (Castro, 1989). Success was, tant to point out that these events seem to be increasing in however, questionable: the harbour continued to accumulate frequency, intensity and impact on coastal infrastructure (Vilibic sediment and erosion along Beira Mar intensified, leading to the et al., 2000). According to information published by Municipal reorganization of all the coastal hard engineering structures Government of Fortaleza and circulated in local newspapers, the between Iracema and Meireles Beaches (Maia et al., 1998). cost of reconstructing the affected areas is very high and Fortaleza Please cite this article in press as: Paula, D.P., et al., High-rise development of the sea-front at Fortaleza (Brazil): Perspectives on its valuation and consequences, Ocean Coastal Management (2012), doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.03.004
  • 5. D.P. Paula et al. / Ocean Coastal Management xxx (2012) 1e10 5 buildings per year in 1980, 3.3 in 1990). In 2009, there were around 77 buildings, two of which were in the final stages of construction (Fig. 2). The rate of construction between the 1980s and 1990s was the highest in history, reaching a figure of 7.1 buildings per year, driven by investments in tourism and the concentration of the elite in this stretch of the city. The hectic pace of growth slowed in the 2000s due to the lack of spaces suitable for construction. 4.2.2. Distribution of buildings The number of buildings per block is variable (1e19), reflecting an average occupancy rate of 4.6 buildings/block. The number of buildings per block increases in from Iracema Beach to Mucuripe Harbor, i.e. from the sector that suffered the greatest erosion toward the least affected. The buildings also feature different forms of use, with special emphasis on residential (54.5%) and hotel facilities (20.8%) (Fig. 3). The data reveal that the tourist sea-front is mainly residential, Fig. 2. Number of high-rise buildings constructed on Beira Mar Avenue between the although commercial and hotel facilities have increased over the 1960s and 2000s. last decade. Mucuripe Beach has the largest number of buildings (37 units), almost 50% of the total sample. Meireles Beach, to the west, has one third of all the buildings, while Náutico Beach, in the spent more than 200 million Reais (more than U.S. $120 million) in central sector, has 18% of the buildings. On the whole extension of the 2000s on such works. It is estimated that, by 2014, over R$400 the sea front, only two blocks are primarily residential (B3-Meireles million will be spent (U.S. $400 million), exacerbating the level of Beach and B13-Mucuripe Beach). environmental modification, and probably reaching an unsustain- The buildings are 14.5 floors high on average. The Mucuripe area able level of economic expenditure. Today, the Fortaleza sea-front is is home to the tallest buildings of all (26 floors) (Fig. 4). This area totally modified by residential and commercial buildings, hotels, also has six buildings that exceeded the allowable height limit for flats, restaurants, recreational clubs and unyielding protective constructions on the sea-front. Only two buildings exceeded the structures. limit in the area of Meireles and Náutico, while other buildings are in accordance with state law However, it is also at this area that the 4.2. Evolution of urbanization/verticalization largest number of low-rise buildings (up to 5 floors) is found on the sea front e a church, two houses and ten commercial outlets 4.2.1. Verticalization rate (shops, bars and restaurants). Maia et al. (1996) have observed that The first high-rise buildings (more than 12 floors) were built in between 1974 and 1994 there was a decrease in average wind the 1970s near the fish market in the area of Mucuripe, the tradi- speeds of 1.1 m/s and an average temperature rise of 0.8 C in the tional domain of fishermen and their rafts. According to data from city. Their period of analysis coincides with the peak of high-rise SECOVI-CE, it is estimated that the average construction rate was 1.6 development along the sea-front of Fortaleza, but further evalua- buildings per year between 1960 and 2000, varying over time (2.7 tion of the data still needs to be made to make sure that the Fig. 3. Distribution of buildings by use category along the touristic beach front of Fortaleza in 2010. Please cite this article in press as: Paula, D.P., et al., High-rise development of the sea-front at Fortaleza (Brazil): Perspectives on its valuation and consequences, Ocean Coastal Management (2012), doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.03.004
  • 6. 6 D.P. Paula et al. / Ocean Coastal Management xxx (2012) 1e10 During high-energy events, damage or threats to human occupa- tion prompt the reconstruction, reinforcing and amplification of coastal engineering structures, which in turn maintain or reinforce the economic and tourism value of adjacent spaces. The poorly planned of coastal land and rapid development of the coast has decreased the environmental quality of beaches and consequently there has been a reduction in the competitive advantage these tourist areas in relation to tourist areas where the coast is better preserved. Along sea-front intense high-rise devel- opment has led to an increasingly artificial coastal zone. This process is associated with the transformation of natural spaces into humanized ones. Increasing human pressure on the coastal zone and the unsus- tainable use are incompatible with the support capacity of these environments, which will certainly be reflected in the artificiality of the landscape and consequent of environmental impacts (e.g.: Fig. 4. Distribution of buildings by number of floors for each urban block along the urban flooding, landslide, rise in temperature, coastal erosion and touristic beachfront of Fortaleza in 2010. marine pollution). In the specific case of the tourist cities, there was an increase of urbanization by the sea due to high-rise development of the sea- temperature variation was not regional, and, in this case, not front. Urban development has exacerbated the problems of coastal attributable to urbanization. erosion on the main tourist beaches of Brazil. In many cases (including Fortaleza, Recife, Jaboatão dos Guararapes, Rio de Janeiro, 4.2.3. Distribution of vacant land and valuation of buildings Balneário Camboriú) the coastline itself is defined by urbanization Currently, there are no blocks on the touristic sea-front occupied (e.g.: buildings line, sidewalk, avenue and road). Coastal vulnera- by houses (low-rise construction) that could be demolished by the bility is thus defined by the degree of coastal urbanization (Fig. 5). high-rise building industry, as was the case on the edge of Boa With urbanization close to the sea, waves more easily reach urban Viagem in Recife, Brazil (Costa et al., 2008). Vacant lots along the infrastructure and endanger drainage systems, sewers, lamp post, sea-front were completely built over by 2008. By analyzing aerial roads, cycle lane, squares, fish markets, statues, houses, buildings photographs and satellite images, it can be seen that in 1995 there and sidewalks. Governments are then forced to invest in coastal were only 10 empty lots suitable for construction, and these were protection to prevent damage to property. Devaluation of public and all used up by 2008. From 1995 to 2003, there was a reduction of private property is likely to decrease the tourism attractiveness of 70% in vacant areas. Most of the land was used for the construction the city, impacting heavily on the municipality’s. of office and residential buildings. Due to the lack of space, spec- The advance of the sea in some regions has resulted in the ulative investors, represented by large construction companies, destruction of urban infrastructure. To prevent coastal impacts and began to purchase low-rise buildings (up to 5 floors) and demolish allow beach recovery, beach nourishment was carried out in some them for new ventures. The main targets were social clubs: of the areas (e.g.: Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Flamengo three clubs existing in the 1990s, only one remained in 2011. Embankment-RJ in Rio de Janeiro, Piçarras Beach in Santa Catarina If this mode of construction were to continue, we envisage that 14 and Iracema Beach in Ceará). Beach nourishment is an attempt to high-rise buildings could still be constructed along Fortaleza’s sea- artificially stabilize a naturally migrating shoreline. Artificially front (two on Meireles Beach, five on Náutico Beach and seven on renourished shorelines provide two benefits: increased area for Mucuripe Beach). It is important to consider that this estimate can recreation and greater protection against coastal storms. only take effect through the purchase and demolition of existing In Pernambuco a proposal for beach nourishment between the low-rise buildings. The scarcity of land suitable for construction cities of Jaboatão dos Guararapes and Recife (more than 20 km of boosted the short-term value of seaside property. According to the coastline) is the subject of current debate. The coastal work will Regional Board of Realtors of Ceará (CRECI), land value on the cost several billion dollars. The high costs to keep the coast safe and beachfront has increased more than 80% in the last 40 years. with sufficient environment quality to attract tourism must be There are properties located in the Meireles and Mucuripe covered by the state, since Brazilian Government is solely respon- neighborhoods whose prices exceed R$8000/m2 (over U.S. $4800/ sible for investments in coastal protection. This demonstrates the m2). The high value of these properties is related to natural features long-term unsustainability of economic activities that are incom- (ocean view) and the proximity to essential services, such as patible with the support capacity of beaches. pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, schools, day-care centers, colleges, Considering a scenario where the coast is hit by a high energy supermarkets, banks, malls, department stores and restaurants. The event (sea storm) that exceeds the protections capacity of coastal Mucuripe and Meireles neighborhoods are the most expensive in engineering structures, destruction of public property (road, side- Fortaleza, as they offer all the essential services in addition to an walk and power poles), private homes and beach huts and coastal ocean view. flooding are inevitable. The tendency is then to reconstruct these defensive structures, making them larger, stronger and “safer”, 4.2.4. Seaward advance of the urban boundary amplifying the sense of security and thus creating a feedback The complete artificial stabilization of the coastline has facili- process whose consequences are difficult to estimate. In the case of tated the process of touristic economic development of the sea- Fortaleza, retreating urban facilities would be an uneconomical front in Fortaleza. At the same time, this development has signifi- short- to medium-term option because of the high associated costs. cantly contributed to strengthening the coastal engineering struc- This must be viewed in the light of the impetus, now rather slight, tures that define the shoreline. An expensive feedback loop has to further advance urbanization toward the sea through land thus been created. The coastal engineering structures provide reclamation, rip-raps and groynes, which, when established, will occupation security and therefore raise the value of urban spaces. make the sustainable use of natural resources completely Please cite this article in press as: Paula, D.P., et al., High-rise development of the sea-front at Fortaleza (Brazil): Perspectives on its valuation and consequences, Ocean Coastal Management (2012), doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.03.004
  • 7. D.P. Paula et al. / Ocean Coastal Management xxx (2012) 1e10 7 Fig. 5. High-rise development along Brazilian coastline. In Fortaleza (A) and Jaboatão dos Guararapes (B) the coastline is defined by groynes, rip-raps, sidewalks and buildings. unfeasible. The hand-in-hand relationship between coastal engi- sidewalks, historical sculptures, and urban roads) and private neering structures and high-rise development means that the interest (beach huts, hotels, houses, shops, restaurants and bars) in coastline is increasingly suffering from human intervention the event of a large storm (Fig. 6B). Muehe (2001) emphasizes that (building of larger structures) and the natural coastal systems have construction on sandy soil and beach strips with a width of less been completely altered. than 150 m should be avoided due to the risk of flooding and The average seaward advance of the urban boundary was 174 m erosion by waves. between the years 1972 and 2008, representing an average change Buildings on Beira Mar Avenue are, on average, 75 m away from of 4.8 m/year (Fig. 6A). The blocks that migrated the most were B14 the maximum spring tide level. In some places that distance is only (7.2 m/year), B15 (8.8 m/year) and B16 (7.1 m/year). The last two 25 m, i.e. Meireles Beach. Between the first row of buildings and the blocks are located on Mucuripe Beach, which has undergone major artificial coastline lie the Beira Mar Avenue, its sidewalk, and beach transformations in the 1990s, as it was the stretch with the highest huts. Beira Mar Avenue is on average 10 m wide and 62 m from the number of spaces suitable for construction. Disorderly advance of high tide line. The sidewalk is on average 12 m wide and 50 m away urban facilities on coastline increases the risk of property damage from the spring high tide level. In some stretches, like on Meireles in areas of technological (e.g.: Mucuripe Harbor), public (e.g.: Beach, this distance is reduced to 15 m. Beach huts are on average Please cite this article in press as: Paula, D.P., et al., High-rise development of the sea-front at Fortaleza (Brazil): Perspectives on its valuation and consequences, Ocean Coastal Management (2012), doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.03.004
  • 8. 8 D.P. Paula et al. / Ocean Coastal Management xxx (2012) 1e10 Fig. 6. Seaward advance of the urban boundary per block (A) and zoning of the areas of interest (B) along the touristic sea-front of Fortaleza. The front-line of constructed buildings as of 1972 is also shown for reference. 40 m from the reach of the tide and waves, making them vulnerable of more than 2 km) (Paula et al., 2008). During storms, it is clear in the event of sea storms. that the advance of urbanization increases the vulnerability of the The urban front of Fortaleza is exposed to ocean storm events coast to wave energy, causing physical damage such as destruction when swell waves cause a build-up of water mass along the coast, of the sidewalk, flooding of the avenue and the infiltration of water thus causing a local sea-level rise that may overtop the first artifi- into electrical conduits, causing blackouts in the lampposts that cial line (4.6 m above hydrographic zero, over a long shore distance illuminate the shore. Fig. 7. Waves crashing over the sidewalk and flooding Iracema Beach during the storm of December, 2009. Source: Rapha Bessa. Please cite this article in press as: Paula, D.P., et al., High-rise development of the sea-front at Fortaleza (Brazil): Perspectives on its valuation and consequences, Ocean Coastal Management (2012), doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.03.004
  • 9. D.P. Paula et al. / Ocean Coastal Management xxx (2012) 1e10 9 Observation of a storm like the one that took place in Fortaleza expansion of adjacent urban areas, increased high-rise develop- between March 18 and 24, 2011, in which urban structures were ment, and raised land prices on the sea-front. Despite the coast easily reached, allows us to identify three areas of impact e the first having been made fully artificial through coastal engineering zone lies between Iracema and Meireles beaches (west), where structures, the constructed properties are not fully protected from marine flooding by overtopping often occurs (Fig. 7); the second the action of sea storms, which destroy roads, sidewalks and homes, zone is restricted to the stretch of Náutico Beach (central), in which and cause coastal flooding. Following any failure of these engi- the morphology of the beach is altered; and the third zone is sit- neering structures, there is a tendency to rebuild them into larger, uated on Mucuripe Beach (east), where the waves reach the edge of stronger and “safer” structures, which, in turn, further increase this the sidewalk, and there is no overtopping of the first artificial line. sense of security. High-rise development of Fortaleza’s coastline is nearly 4.3. Problems of high-rise urban development complete, and there are no more spaces available. The next stage will be the demolition of older high-rise buildings (5e12 floors), to The unregulated development of the sea front of Fortaleza has provide room for much taller buildings (30 floors). In this process, led to a scarcity of green spaces, which have been replaced by the northern coast of Fortaleza is likely to lose its touristic appeal, asphalt pavement and concrete, materials that retain heat and and tourists will increasingly seek alternatives in adjacent areas increase the temperature in the city, leading to thermal discomfort (Praia do Futuro and Barra do Ceará) or nearby (Beach Park and for the communities living on the outskirts. Covering the city in Cumbuco). It seems conceivable that, given the other viable impermeable materials, such as asphalt and concrete, helps to alternatives, the north coast of Fortaleza will be avoided by beach increase the risk of flooding, as both storm water and sea water can tourism operators in the medium term, possibly resulting in its accumulate near the coastline, as has already occurred at Iracema economic devaluation (at least in the adjacent and nearby areas). Beach. Another factor contributing to increased flood-risk in areas In the short, Fortaleza’s tourist coast (high-rise development of of Fortaleza is the extensive excavation of sand ridges for numerous the sea-front) will extend westward to enable the city to host the sea-front constructions. World Cup 2014. New tourist infrastructure (e.g.: hotel, resorts, An unsavory result of the intense urbanization of the city, restaurant) is required to accommodate the expected visitors. The especially the sea-front, is that the sewerage network has failed to result will be major changes in the landscape to its appropriation by cope with the growing population (more than 2.5 million inhabi- private interests, as well as significant impacts on the social and tants), causing wastewater to be illegally dumped into storm water economic fabric of the city. In the future, economic interests, drains. Once this water reaches rivers and beaches, the pollution tourism potential and environmental quality should be carefully exceeds the allowable health limits for bathing. Beaches on the weighed up by planning authorities, allowing a true estimate of the tourist coast have elevated concentrations of fecal coliforms linked sustainability or otherwise of the current model of high-rise coastal to storm water carrying sewage (e.g.: Silva et al., 2009). development. According to Bulletin No. 18/2011 of the State Bureau of Environment (SEMACE, 2011), which reports weekly ratings of the coastline, Iracema and Mucuripe beaches were unsuitable Acknowledgements for bathing between April 4 and May 2, 2011. In addition, the increased production of domestic garbage eventually clogs drains The authors would like to acknowledge the support of Conselho and prevents the flow of sediment to the beach. Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico-CNPq The poorly planned occupation of coastal areas has led to arti- (479255/2009-1) and Fundação Cearense de Apoio ao Desenvolvi- ficiality of the landscape, reducing environmental resilience. The mento Científico e Tecnológico-FUNCAP (Support Program for construction of urban infrastructure and stabilizations of sand Centers of Excellence-PRONEX). Davis Pereira de Paula was sup- dunes have contributed to an imbalance in sediment supply to the ported by FUNCAP. We would like to thank the teachers and beaches of the north coast of Fortaleza. The intensification of students of the Laboratório de Geologia e Geomorfologia Costeira e urbanization on the sea-front has effectively fixed the backshore Oceânica (Univ. Estadual do Ceará) and the Centro de Investigação zone, interfering with the natural mobilization of sediment Marinha e Ambiental (Univ. Algarve). The authors are grateful to between the emerged and submerged beach. The loss of the Dr. Simon Connor for the English revision of the document. coastline’s ability to move makes it more vulnerable to severe erosion in the event of a storm. References 5. Conclusion Araújo, M.C.B., Costa, M.F., 2008. Environmental quality indicators for recreational beaches classification. Journal of Coastal Research, 1439e1449. The process of urbanization of Fortaleza’s Beira Mar was initi- Ariza, E., Jiménez, J.A., Sardá, R., 2008. A critical assessment of beach management ated as a result of port activities: first on Iracema Beach and later on the Catalan Coast. Ocean Coastal Mangement 51, 141e160. with the construction of Mucuripe Harbor. The construction of the Bascom, W., 1980. Waves and Beaches: The Dynamics of the Ocean Surface. Anchor Press, Garden City, New York. Titan Breakwater induced strong coastal erosion that reached the Bird, E.C.F., 2000. Coastal Geomorphology: An Introduction. 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Please cite this article in press as: Paula, D.P., et al., High-rise development of the sea-front at Fortaleza (Brazil): Perspectives on its valuation and consequences, Ocean Coastal Management (2012), doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.03.004