Pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly design is the focus of a new residential development by Reykjavík’s domestic airport. The plans for the development, an addition to the existing Skerjafjörður neighbourhood, were presented at an online town hall meeting yesterday. The development is a part of the City of Reykjavík’s “green development” initiative.
Design Prioritises Pedestrians and Cyclists
“Pedestrians and cyclists will be the first priority in all of the neighbourhood’s design,” a notice on the City of Reykjavík website states. All parking for the development will be located within the parking garage, with limited parking spaces at street level to ensure accessibility. The neighbourhood will be also be serviced by public transportation.
“The neighbourhood will be surrounded by green spaces, a new beach area, and there will be space for squares, playgrounds and lounge areas, and a lot of plants between the buildings,” the notice continues. The neighbourhood has other environmentally-friendly elements, including a filtration system for rainwater.
Construction in Two Stages
The Skerjafjörður development will be built in two stages. The first stage will consist of the construction of 700 apartment buildings, 2-5 stories high, along with a preschool, elementary school, and a covered parking garage with a grocery store and shops on ground level. The development will also contain student housing and affordable units. The second stage of construction, which involves filling land and the creation of a beach, is currently undergoing an environmental assessment. The entire development will contain 1,300-1,500 apartments, with the first phase of construction is expected to begin at the end of this year.
Should Not Affect Airport Operations
According to the notice, the Skerjafjörður development “will not impair the current operations nor the utilisation of Reykjavík Airport.” Though a decision has been made to eventually move the airport out of the city centre, City Councillor Vigdís Hauksdóttir of the Centre Party says that the city is violating its agreement with the state by starting construction before a new location for the airport has been confirmed.
Sigurborg Ósk Haraldsdóttir, chairperson of the City’s Planning and Transportation Committee, denies the construction is in violation of any agreements. “Residents have voted to move the airport. The general zoning plan says that the airport should go. It is economically advantageous to move the airport,” she told Vísir reporters. “Now we are facing climate change and one of the biggest steps we can take is to densify the area and build a residential development where the airport is.”