The City of Reykjavík is implementing policies to limit hotels in the downtown core and encourage their development in other neighbourhoods, RÚV reports. The policies are intended to combat the decline of residents in the city centre, but have been criticised by contractors, who are pressuring the city to change its approach.
Sigurbjörg Ósk Haraldsdóttir, chairperson of the city’s transportation and urban design department, says the city receives requests for hotel building permits on a weekly basis. “We have a quota in the Kvosin neighbourhood, on Laugavegur street, and on Hverfisgata street. There, hotels cannot exceed 23% of the total surface area. Then we also have a change to the general zoning that residential or office space cannot be converted into a hotel.”
The policies are “more about managing future development and that we’re not constantly building up the same area,” Sigurbjörg says. If hotels are to be spread over a wider area, she adds, the city will need to develop its public transportation system. “The point is to be able to move people between places and we don’t necessarily want all tourists to have a car,” she stated.