Rafaella Simas Lima

Department of Geography

PhD Candidate

 Rafaella Simas Lima

Full contact details

Rafaella Simas Lima
Department of Geography
Geography and Planning Building
Winter Street
S3 7ND

I joined the University of Sheffield in 2017 when I was awarded ESRC funding to complete an MA in Social Research followed by a PhD in Geography. Prior to this I worked as a teaching and research assistant at the Development Planning Unit, part of the Bartlett at UCL, where I assisted in the delivery of the MSc Urban Development Planning, contributed to ongoing research projects, and coordinated student field trips in London and in Dar es Salaam. I have also held several positions in the nonprofit sector in multiple countries, focusing mainly on international development and human rights. My current research interests include housing and urban development, financial geographies, and feminist political economy as well as cultural economy approaches.

Transnational real estate investment in a semi-periphery: Uneven housing development in post-crisis Lisbon

My research examines transnational investments into housing production in Lisbon since the 2008 global financial crisis and subsequent EU-imposed structural reforms. While initial foreign investors focused on small-scale luxury rehabilitation projects in the city's historic centre, I trace the more recent entry of international institutional investors and developers who have pursued large-scale housing developments in more peripheral areas of Lisbon. By examining the actors and processes implicated in housing investment, as well as the end products of that investment, I seek to understand how international core-periphery relations shape uneven housing development in a 'semi-peripheral' city. 

In order to explore investment processes and current housing dynamics in Lisbon, I rely on interviews with investors, developers, and other real estate professionals, industry reports and news articles, along with observations at industry events, public fora and other settings. My research contributes to debates on peripheral or subordinate financialization, examining specifically how core-periphery relations are both reflected and reproduced in housing development. I also draw on cultural economy approaches that take into account the performative dynamics of markets, and respond to calls for richer accounts of the typologies and strategies of real estate investors.

Supervisors: Dr Juan Miguel Kanai, Dr Desiree Fields (external)


MA Social Research, The University of Sheffield (2017-2018); MSc Urban Development Planning, UCL (2013-2014); BA Peace and Conflict Studies, University of California, Berkeley (2007-2011)