House preservation society Torfusamtökin has issued a statement this week expressing concern over the situation of buildings in central Reykjavík, criticizing city authorities for not protecting old buildings but allowing them deteriorate.
According to Torfusamtökin, abandoned houses in the city center are increasing and are both visually polluting and create fire hazards. This week an abandoned house on Hverfisgata was set on fire.
The house preservation society accuses Reykjavík City of having an old-fashioned view towards the development of downtown Reykjavík, similar to what city authorities in many other Western countries had in the 1960s and 1970s with “tragic” consequences.
The owners of old buildings in city centers benefited from making them deteriorate on purpose, allowing homeless people to live there and create fire hazards to speed-up permits for demolition. Torfusamtökin fears the same thing is happening in Reykjavík.
The society therefore encourages city authorities not to relent to pressure from companies that benefit from constructing in downtown Reykjavík, but instead make sure that old buildings are renovated and maintained.
In this way the old “elegance” of the capital can be recreated, Torfusamtökin concluded.