Scarcity and Creativity in the Reykjavík environment, a workshop

The Reykjavík team will be running an urban design research workshop with the Iceland Academy of the Arts in Reykjavík August 22nd – September 2nd, 2011: Contemporary global socio-economic conditions and climate change pose an uncertainty regarding future development of the built environment. It is urgent to shift towards more resilient strategies for the urban development where an investigation into retrofitting the existing inhabited landscape is central. New spatial connections and programs at the level of the building, the block, the neighbourhood and on the level of the city can be identified, and alternative approaches can challenge the unfruitful processes of the past decade.


The case of the Reykjavik Capital Area (RCA), illustrates how the global economic climate in a boom can produce severe challenges for mobility, resource flows and habitation on the local level in a developed western society. The deadlock of rapid transformation (2000-2008), with the emergence of partly fragmented urban landscapes represents a burden for the environment and the people. From 2002-2008 a series of new settlements have been under development on the fringe of the city representing ca. 25% augmentation of the total build-up of the area. The ideology legitimizing the planning principle behind the new development needs to be re-evaluated as one has realized that its execution was dependant on flow of capital and building materials from distant territories which has decreased drastically, rendering these areas devaluated and frowned upon as failures.