A new service and community center in the West Fjords village of Þingeyri hopes to become a national example of how to deal with, and create opportunity from, the loss of important services in remote villages.
The Iceland Innovation Center project manager working on the so-called Blue Bank hopes that other villages can learn from Þingeyri’s experience.
Among services lost to Þingeyri that the Blue Bank will reinstate are banking and postal services, but the center will also be a venue for events and a workspace for innovation and start-ups, RÚV reports.
Reasons for the center’s creation include “getting people to come here. People who want to live here, who are getting some idea or company off the ground,” says Wouter Van Hoeymisse, long-term Þingeyri resident and one of the people behind the Blue Bank idea. He adds that the two permanent jobs the center will create are also important in a small community like Þingeyri.
The project is a cooperation between the Icelandic State, private entities and Ísafjarðarbær, the local municipality. The Blue Bank is so named because it is opening in the former Landsbankinn branch in the village, which is painted a distinctive blue color. The Blue Bank will also hopefully have Fab Lab innovation workshop facilities.
The Blue Bank is a three-year development project whose success is largely in the hands of the locals: how it develops will depend on how people use the services on offer—and how much.