Residents of downtown Reykjavík are fleeing the city on account of the growing abundance of hotels and guesthouses where residential neighbourhoods once were, according to the Resident’s Association of Downtown Reykjavík.
Sverrir Þ. Sverrisson, chairman of the Resident’s Association, tells RÚV that nearly half the city center has been overrun with hotels and guesthouses. While he clarifies that residents of 101 don’t dislike tourists, they are just wishing that developers would consider the bigger picture when deciding to take over once residential neighbourhoods with guesthouses.
“The number of hotels and guesthouses changes the environment and the population in this traditionally residential area. The residents feel the change and feel that their neighbourhood is not as residential as it was before,” Sverrir said.
While the proliferations of guesthouses in residential neighbourhoods puts a strain on the residents, since tourists tend to stay out later in the streets, disrupting the general daily cycle of residents, Sverrir also points out that the abundance of guesthouses is bad for tourists. “It’s not exciting if the city is just hotels and guest houses,” he said.
It is not just the residential neighbourhoods of 101 that are being altered so that developers can pounce on the promise of a big payday from the tourist boom, much of the downtown core is changing, leading some to criticize that the current development trend in the city is out of step with Reykjavík’s downtown culture.
Young Left Green Party members are rallying against the ongoing hotel development in the city centre and the destruction of Heart Park, RÚV reports.
“There are other options available when it comes to organizing downtown,” reads a resolution of the party. “Here’s an area that’s a popular attraction for tourists being destroyed in order for the same tourists to be able to sleep downtown. It’s sacrificing the culture and urban structure of downtown.”