Category: Oslo/Reykjavik

The Oslo team will investigate, both conceptually and empirically, the relation between scarcity and creativity in the making of the built environment by examining places and periods in which there have been radical shifts from periods of scarcity to abundance and vice versa. The project asks what happens when the challenges posed by urban development and especially housing are produced under conditions of new found abundance after long periods of scarcity and vice versa. This will identify what challenges might abundance and scarcity pose for the creative and innovative design of cities, and what happens to creativity when servicing conditions of rapid economic transformation. The two cases to be studied are the city of Stavanger which experienced rapid economic growth after the discovery of oil in the North Sea in 1967, and the city of Reykjavik which after a period of boom suffered a dramatic financial crisis in 2008.

The research question for both case studies is: How, what type, and with what outcomes did Stavanger and Reykjavik produce their housing and settlement patterns in periods of scarcity and of abundance and what challenges does this pose for the future?


Iceland, which had experienced significant growth and an economic boom in the 2000s, had by October 2008 fallen into the deepest and most rapid financial crisis recorded in peacetime history when its three major banks all collapsed in the same week. This crisis had profound effects on the ongoing housing and urban development processes initiated ...


Following the discovery of North Sea oil in the late 1960s, Norway, which in the 1960’s was suffering a significant decline in its industrial base, had become one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Oslo was one of the main beneficiaries of this new wealth. From 1957 to 1980 while its population grew only moderately, tax revenues had increased ...