Close to 700 people have expressed their support for Aron Kristinn Jóhannsson’s proposal to put up a statue of American musician Kanye West the swimming pool in west Reykjavík, Vesturbæjarlaug, RÚV reports. This is by far the most popular idea to be entered in the Reykjavík city online proposal collection My Neighbourhood. A city project manager states that there is a possibility that the idea can become reality.
Every year, the people of Reykjavík have a chance to present their ideas for projects to make the city a better place to live. They can concern parts of the city such as its green spaces, entertainment, or art in public spaces. The deadline to turn in new ideas was midnight January 20. The most popular idea by far was to raise a statue of the American pop musician Kanye West right outside the Vesturbæjarlaug swimming pool. The idea was entered by Aron Kristinn Jóhannsson, who grew up in west Reykjavík, commonly known as Vesturbærinn but currently resides in the city centre.
“When the proposal competition ended last year, I regretted not sending this idea in because I thought the ideas that were accepted last year were incredibly uninteresting,” Aron told RÚV. The city is split into 10 neighbourhoods for the proposals. To give an idea of other popular proposals, In Laugardalur, the most popular idea is to expand the Sólheimasafn library. In Kjalarnes, the most popular idea is to put up hot tubs on the beach so the locals can enjoy the coast more.
According to Eiríkur Búi Halldórsson, project manager with the City of Reykjavík, “The people of Reykjavík set a new record. They entered 1,321 proposals, a considerable increase from the year before.” He is the project leader for the My Neighbourhood proposal competition. Everyone can send in an idea or express their support fora proposal, no matter where they live. Close to 700 people have supported the idea of a Kanye West statue.
“I challenge the city officials to listen to the young people and make this happen,” said Aron. When asked if it wasn’t a little strange to put up a statue of an American artist in west Reykjavík, Aron replied: “It’s weird, sure, but it also makes sense. Reykjavík is a tiny place and we could use some more culture.”
Aron is a fan of the American artist, telling interviewer: “It would be an honour for Kanye West. I don’t think there’s a greater honour than getting a statue in their likeness.” He also thinks the statue might prove to be a tourist attraction and even suggests that locals change the spelling of the west Reykjavík neighbourhood from Vesturbær to Westurbær.
When asked how likely it is for the proposal to become reality, Eiríkur replied. “Now, we start the process of working through the proposals and assessing which ones are possible.” Next autumn, the people of Reykjavík will vote on the approved proposals and the most popular ones will be put into reality next year. “I can’t rule out the possibility but I also can’t promise anything,” Eiríkur added.