70% Of Residents Support Combining Reykjavik Area Towns; Majority Want One Big City

70% Of Residents Support Combining Reykjavik Area Towns; Majority Want One Big City

Published July 29, 2020

Photo by
Art Bicnick

Reykjavík, Mosfellsbær, Kópavogur, Garðabær, Hafnarfjörður and Seltjarnarnes—these are the towns of the capital area, with a combined population of 232,789 people out of Iceland’s total of 364,134. According to a new poll conducted by Zenter for Fréttablaðið, 70% of the people who live in this region support the notion of combining at least some of these towns, with about half supporting combining all of them into one big city.

The idea is not a new one, and there are considerable discrepancies between residents of different towns regarding levels of support for the concept.

Of those who responded to the poll, 81.2% of Reykjavík residents support combining at least some of these municipalities, and these residents displayed the highest level of support of all. This was followed by 73.7% of Kópavogur residents; 57.6% of Hafnarfjörður residents; and a razor-thin majority of 50.1% of residents of Garðabær. The strongest opposition was amongst those living in Mosfellsbær, the only capital area town located north of Reykjavík, with 67.6% opposed, followed by the residents of Seltjarnarnes, at 64.8% against it.

Respondents were given the option to select which municipalities in the capital area to combine. The largest share, or about 50%, support simply combining all these towns into one large city. This was followed by combining Reykjavík and Seltjarnarnes (44%); Kópavogur, Hafnarfjörður and Garðabær (27%); Reykjavík and Mosfellsbær (22%); Hafnarfjörður and Garðabær (15%); Kópavogur and Garðabær (10%); and Reykjavík and Kópavogur (8%).

Interestingly, the idea of combining all the Reykjavík area municipalities also received resounding support from 80.5% of those who live in the countryside, with about 66% supporting combining them all.

As mentioned, the idea of combining some capital area towns has been floated before. In 2012, Lefitst-Green councilperson for Kópavogur Ólafur Þór Gunnarsson supported merging Kópavogur, Garðabær, Álftanes and Hafnarfjörður into a single town, tentatively named Heiðmörk. Something close to that idea ended up happening that same year, when the majority of residents of Álftanes and Garðabær voted in favour of combining into one, and adopting the Garðabær name for them both.

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