THE DWELLING SCENARIO – a brief in progress

CO-LIVING – On the level of the plot, the neighbourhood, the district

Flexible spaces, alternative forms of living together and hybrid uses make dwelling more robust.

Local and global problems/ opportunities: In times of abundance the amount of housing units produced on the outskirts of the RCA did not correspond with the population growth.

Between 2000 and 2008, the number of dwellings in Iceland (including those under construction) increased by 26.8 per cent, while the number of inhabitants grew by only 13 per cent.

From 2002-2008, 313,4m2 of dwelling was begun pr. each new person in the Reykajvik Capital Region.

Even if many people are emigrating and moving to other less expensive towns because of the recession there is demand for particular kinds of housing in Reykjavik: affordable rental space for dwelling and tourist accommodation. The need for affordable rental space and new income possibilities is due to unemployment and accumulation of household debt. Homeownership has been the general rule in the country, but financial problems make it impossible for many people to pay the mortgages. Social housing is scarce and rent is expensive.

There is need for more flexible household space for catering for entirely new and different needs and practises. Currently young people postpone starting their own households and stay with their parents. Some small businesses economise by moving from rented space to a working space at home. People are at home more, due to slowed down economy, lost jobs and mobility issues. Children spend more time with their parents. More time gives an opportunity for new practices for inhabitation and living.

Many buildings are empty. This is especially present on the outskirts where property, which could not be paid for by the inhabitants, has been taken over by loan institutions (owned by a large degree by foreign creditors). Demand of housing before the crisis triggered large developments of single family houses, 300-400m2 which many remain unfinished because of high prices. The other dominating (and contrasting) typology is freestanding apartment blocks.

The outskirts developments overlap spaces of leisure, traditionally located on the fringe, such as the horse stalls and riding paths. These functions remain largely unexplored with regards to the increasing tourism in the country, even if the Icelandic horse is an internationally renowned breed attracting numerous tourists to the country.The horse stalls under development during the economic boom (many of which are not completed) have large living spaces integrated within their complexes; something which under present financial circumstances can be considered a superfluous luxury, but for this scenario, a resource to be further explored and possibly retrofitted.

  • WHAT IF: the urban landscape on the fringe of the capital showed the way for a new vision of CO-LIVING exploring new combinations of collective and individual spaces, including accommodating the alternative tourist associated with slow practices?
  • What incentives could support such a scenario and what sort of processes would be suitable to develop them?

  • How does the intervention contribute to the economy as well as the comfort of the inhabitants?

Resources: Too big homes, empty buildings, unfinished buildings, the Icelandic horse, riding paths, horse stalls, exotic nature, unused buildings, new social practises, eccentric tourists

STUDENT PROJECT  (be patient, it takes a minute to download)


One Response to “DWELLING”


  1. Scarcity and Creativity in the built Environment | - March 22, 2013

    […] DWELLING […]

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