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What is a neighbourhood plan?

The Reykjavík Neighbourhood Plan is a new planning device that is based on the Reykjavík Municipal Plan 2010-2030. It is meant to ensure a positive future for the city by encouraging modern urban development while also making the city’s districts more sustainable and environmentally conscious.
All of the city’s established neighbourhoods will receive their own neighbourhood plans, which will propose policies for alteration of properties, population increases, transportation, green spaces, improvements to shops and services within the neighbourhood and more. The plan’s goal is also to restore and improve Reykjavík’s cityscape and to encourage health conscious and beneficial activity. Furthermore, an integral part of the process is to encourage residents to take part in shaping their urban environment through an active public consultation. The Reykjavík Neighbourhood Plan will be a crucial factor in such developments.

Various advantages for residents and the city

The advent of the new neighbourhood plan will make it easier for owners to alter their properties; e.g. by installing dormer windows or balconies; by adding additional apartments to their property by building an extension; or by multiplying the number of apartments within existing buildings.
The broader permissions found in the new neighbourhood plan will help increase the availability of small and medium-sized apartments found in established neighbourhoods, thus improving the successful utilisation of a variety of infrastructure; e.g. schools and preschools, whose operations are shown to benefit from a well-balanced residential population.

The neighbourhood plan permissions are also intended to increase the variety of shops and services on offer in neighbourhood centres that are within walking distances for the neighbourhood’s residents. This has a positive effect on transportation and daily life within the neighbourhood.

  1. Simplified application process for property alterations
  2. More sustainable and environmentally conscious neighbourhoods
  3. Increased availability of apartments
  4. Improved utilisation of infrastructure
  5. Better public transportation
  6. Improved availability of local shops and services
  7. Bustling street life
  8. Better public spaces

The Six Step Process Behind a Neighbourhood Plan

Creating a neighbourhood plan for all the city’s neighbourhoods is a complex task that follows a six-step process. The first step is the creation of a process description. The state of the neighbourhood is analysed, and the intended planning process is laid out. The second step involves strategic planning, where a future vision of the neighbourhood is laid out. After that comes the drafting of provisions and proposals, and the final step involves the presentation and confirmation of the plan. More information regarding the six-step process of creating a neighbourhood plan can be found to the left.
The work behind the neighbourhood plan began in 2013, with an assessment of the state and environmental impact of each of the city’s neighbourhoods. In 2015, work began on the first few neighbourhood plans, which were intended for the neighbourhoods of Árbær, Breiðholt, Háaleiti – Bústaðir and Hlíðar. By 2024, all of the city’s neighbourhoods will have received their own neighbourhood plans.

The Process

  1. Process description
  2. Strategic planning
  3. Public consultation
  4. Drafting of provisions
  5. Drafting of proposal
  6. Presentation and confirmation

Did you know that Reykjavík intends to become carbon neutral by 2040? – Wow, really?

Public consultation

Creating a neighbourhood plan using the Planning for Real process

Neighbourhood plans are developed in close cooperation with residents and stakeholders. Public consultation is an ongoing factor of the work and runs through all neighbourhood planning processes. Initially, this public consultation is a broad and open field, but its focus becomes more and more defined as the work progresses.
In order to reach as many parties as possible, a variety of public consultation venues are applied. The focus groups put together by Gallup discuss the earliest drafts of the future vision of the neighbourhood. The data from these focus groups is then used to further develop the ideas found in the neighbourhood plan proposal. A major part of the neighbourhood plan’s public consultation process revolves around recruiting year seven students from neighbourhood schools to build a model of their neighbourhood. In 2015 and 2017, around 1000 students from 21 neighbourhood schools took part in this project, which is called Planning for Real. Afterwards, a proposal for a future vision of the neighbourhood is presented during community meetings where the models are used to help residents discuss the current status of the neighbourhood and allow them to offer ideas and comments through the specialized Planning for Real ticketing system. All ideas presented in these meetings are then registered to a digital map, the Online Ticket Viewer, which can be found elsewhere on this site. These ideas are used to further develop the neighbourhood plan.
Furthermore, representatives will meet with neighbourhood councils, residential associations, stakeholders, city government parties and departments and other government agencies that have a stake in the neighbourhood plan. Once the planning process comes to an end, the data gained from the Ticket Viewer, the focus groups and the community meetings is used to create a finalised proposal for a neighbourhood plan.


Í Skipulagssjá Reykjavíkurborgar má nálgast samþykkt deiliskipulag og aðalskipulag fyrir borgina. Þjónustan er öllum opin og gjaldfrjáls.


Borgarvefsjá er gjaldfrjáls vefþjónusta sem veitir notendum aðgang að ýmsum landfræðilegum upplýsingum um Reykjavík og nágrenni.


Í Hverfasjá má nálgast öll skipulagsgögn hverfisskipulags.