With 16,000 residents, Akureyri is Iceland’s second largest urban center. Our proposal responds to a call from the city for plans to revitalize the town’s urban center. In turn, we suggest an open design process, one in which analytic tools and design simulations are applied successively to illustrate Akureyri’s prospective transformation.
Our first strategy recognizes the need to increase the economic vitality of the town center. We suggest the creation of a Research Institute for Global Warming that will capitalize on the city’s close proximity in monitoring the polar icecaps. We propose to attract tourists to the city’s pristine setting by providing them with activities and appropriate infrastructure, including an improved harbor facility, botanical gardens, waterfront inns and a marketplace. One of the city’s strongest features is its unique landscape. Our second strategy seeks reinforce the connection between the town and its natural setting through urban design. We propose transforming the shape of the harbor to strengthen its presence in the landscape and to allow for tourist ships. Additionally, we suggest highlighting the Brekkan Land Forms with new buildings and the creating walkways that allow for pedestrian traffic.
While the beauty of the Brekkan Ridge is undeniable, we saw the need to enhance certain environmental elements and downplay others to create a more hospitable urban setting for residents and tourists. On the one hand, we will utilize reflective surface materials to redirect sunlight towards the downtown. We also propose the careful placement of buildings to block the harsh northern winds.
Our final strategy follows from the city’s need for integrated traffic solutions. First, we propose strengthening the path/street network. New paths link the waterfront to the institutions on the plateau, and walkways along the Brekkan run through the research institute to schools, recreation areas and the city center creating interconnectedness. Additionally, off-site parking structures with shuttle service will provide convenient access to the town center, while reducing traffic and pollution.