Crowdsourcing a Better Reykjavík

The City of Reykjavík’s website Hverfið mitt / Better Reykjavík held its ninth election this week, with voting on crowdsourced ideas for urban development and improvement ending on Thursday. Vísir reports that more people participated in the process this year than ever before.

“It’s nice to see a participation record set in all districts of Reykjavík this year,” said Project Manager Eiríkur Búi Halldórsson. “Nice to see how much interest residents have in improving their neighbourhoods — participation has really taken off.”

As ever, the public put forth a wide array of proposals, but Eiríkur said that it was clear that people were thinking bigger this year: a skate park in Vesturbær, a covered grilling area in Laugardalur, a school running track in Breiðholt, an adult playground in Grafarholt, and a sea swimming beach in Kjalarnes, just to name a few.

In total, the city will invest a total of ISK 850 million [$6.58 million; €5.68 million] in projects in all 10 city districts. Because voting on Hverfið mitt / Better Reykjavík projects is now happening every two years, instead of every year, the funding accumulates, says Eiríkur, which allows bigger projects to be approved.

“We’re planning to start construction on the projects in summer 2022, so it won’t be long and it will be fun to see these projects make their mark on all the neighbourhoods of Reykjavík.”



Seyðisfjörður May Have to Evacuate Again

Residents of Seyðisfjörður in East Iceland may have to evacuate their homes once again for risk of landslides, RÚV reports. Civil Defense has declared an Uncertainty Phase in the village and residents are urged to closely monitor the forecast and safety advisories throughout the weekend.

Forecasts predict as much as 120 mm [5 in] of rain in the area this weekend, starting late Sunday night/early Monday morning and continuing through Wednesday. Depending on conditions, homes at the base of Botnabrún mountain may need to be evacuated. The same area suffered a series of landslides in December 2020, later determined to be the “largest landslide to have damaged an urban area in Iceland.” In a village of 659 people, fourteen homes were destroyed or collapsed.

See Also: Seyðisfjörður Mudslides: 14 Houses Destroyed

The residents in Seyðisfjörður have been on landslide-watch for weeks. Twenty residents were evacuated and an Alert Phase declared by Civil Defense at the start of the month. This was downgraded to an Uncertainty Phase just days ago and residents allowed to return home.

Civil Defense and the Met will monitor conditions over the weekend. The expect to make a decision on Sunday afternoon as to whether there will need to be another evacuation and if so, how extensive that evacuation would need to be.