From Iceland — New Zoning Plan Does Away With Inner City Airport and High Rises

New Zoning Plan Does Away With Inner City Airport and High Rises

Published May 30, 2013

The City Council’s projected zoning plan for 2010-2030 calls for the gradual dismantling of Reykjavík’s domestic airport in the Vatnsmýri area and prohibits the building of residential high rises in the downtown area, RÚV and Vísir report.
A draft of the new zoning plan is expected to be presented to City Council today. In an effort to encourage higher density instead of urban sprawl, the plan does not foresee the creation of new residential neighbourhoods in the Reykjavík area but rather focuses on developing existing neighbourhoods.  
The plan calls for the building of over 12 000 new housing units in three areas of the city; the Vatnsmýri area where the domestic airport is currently housed, the old harbour in the town centre, and Elliðaárvogur, a cove in the east part of the city.
The Vatnsmýri area is expected to see the most development with plans for 6900 new residential units, which would house some fourteen thousand residents and generate twelve thousand jobs in the area. The construction necessitates the dismantling of the Reykjavík domestic airport, which is expected to take place in phases whereby individual air strips gradually give way to housing development. Accordingly, the airport would begin ceding air strips this year and its operations in the area will fully cease by 2030.
Dagur B. Eggertsson, chairperson for the City Council, further told Vísir that the zoning plan has also been drawn up to prevent Reykjavík from becoming a city of high rises. The plan includes a ban on the construction of residential buildings over five stories in the downtown section enclosed by Skúlagata, Snorrabraut, Hringbraut and Ánanaust. Dagur said that this measure means that projects similar to the controversial Skuggahverfi neighbourhood will not be undertaken.


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