Reykjavík to Develop Post-Crash Ghost Suburbs Skip to content

Reykjavík to Develop Post-Crash Ghost Suburbs

The City of Reykjavík is planning to contribute ISK 3.7 billion (USD 30 million, EUR 23 million) to the development of the suburbs Úlfarsárdalur and Grafarholt in the next five years, where construction was brought to a halt after the banks collapsed in 2008.

hus-grafarholt_psGrafarholt. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

Plans for the development of Úlfarsárdalur will change dramatically in the process. Instead of a suburb for 18,000 people, it is estimated that 2,500 to 3,500 people will live there. In January 2012, 352 persons had their legal domicile in Úlfarsárdalur, Fréttablaðið reports.

In the next five years, the construction of a combined play and elementary school, full-sized sports arena and a swimming pool is planned in Úlfarsárdalur. Next year ISK 250 million (USD 2 million, EUR 1.5 million) will go towards the project and a design competition for the suburb will be launched.

Chair of Reykjavík City Council Dagur B. Eggertsson said Úlfarsárdalur is the district hardest struck by the crisis. The planned development, worked on in cooperation with inhabitants, will hopefully make them more optimistic about its future, he added.

“It will be a more quiet and peaceful neighborhood than originally planned but we will provide sufficient services with a sports ground and swimming pool, in addition to a combined play and elementary school. We know many residents were concerned about that,” Dagur stated.

“I believe everyone, including residents, have faced the fact that we had to downscale the old plans,” he commented.

The operations will partly be financed with the sale of lots and the demand will determine the contribution from the city’s budget.

“We’re not concealing the fact that these will be the last lots in the capital region in slopes facing south,” stated Dagur. “Now that we think of Úlfarsárdalur and Grafarholt as a whole, we are looking at a district unit similar to Árbær.”

The sports club Fram and the City of Reykjavík have a standing agreement on the club’s relocation to the district but when the agreement was signed it was assumed that 18,000 people would live there.

Dagur stated the city is keen to honor the agreement but because of the changed conditions, a meeting will be held with Fram’s representatives.

Chair of Fram Ólafur Arnarson declared in an interview with Fréttablaðið that the planned downscaling of development in Úlfarsárdalur is a treachery towards the club and residents. If the agreement will not be honored, “we must take it to the courts,” he stated.

Click here to read more about Úlfarsárdalur.


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