"Worst Planning Mistake In A Decade" - The Reykjavik Grapevine

“Worst Planning Mistake In A Decade”

Published March 10, 2014

The decision to build high-rises in the Skuggahverfi neighbourhood of Reykjavík is, according to one city councilperson, “the worst planning mistake in the past decade”.

Those who have been anywhere near the harbour area of downtown Reykjavík have probably not been able to avoid the sight of the grey apartment towers that, for some Reykjavík neighbourhoods, partially block the view of the harbour and Mt. Esja on the opposite shore. MBL reports that the decision to build the towers was never put before the Environmental and Planning Committee when the building permit was approved.

Construction of a third tower is underway and, as can be seen in the MBL photo, when complete it will block a significant portion of the harbour view from Frakkastígur.

Hjálmar Sveinsson, a Social Democrat city councilperson, is less than pleased with the project:

“It has a significant negative impact on this beautiful sight. My opinion is that this tower-building at Skúlagata is one of the worst planning mistakes of the city in the past decade. In its time it was considered very fashionable, but today I think the vast majority agree that [the towers] are all too big and take all too little consideration to the old Reykjavík, with its fine patterns and beautiful street arrangements.”

He does not rule out, however, that the whole project could be scrapped, despite the fact that construction has begun. But preventing planning mistakes of this nature would require re-organising how building permits are granted.

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