What is a neighborhood plan?

Neighborhood plans are land-use plans for established neighborhoods that aim to foster sustainable, environmentally friendly neighborhood growth in response to evolving societal priorities.

The work on the neighborhood plan for all neighborhoods is managed by City experts and in collaboration with a diverse advisory group of architects, landscape architects, planners, and engineers.

Changes to properties

With the implementation of the neighborhood plan, it will be much simpler for residents to make changes to their properties, such as constructing dormer windows, balconies, extensions, and adding dwellings in already built houses.

The permissions under the neighborhood plan can increase the availability of small to medium-sized dwellings in established neighborhoods, thereby improving the use of various infrastructures such as primary schools and preschools.

The permissions of the neighborhood plan also aim to enhance diverse services and retail within walking distance for residents, positively impacting daily life and transportation within the neighborhoods.

The Municipal Plan of Reykjavík defines a checklist for the habitability of residential areas. This checklist aims to give City authorities an indication of the habitability of different districts, with the goal of shaping proposals and actions for improvements.

With eco-friendly solutions and an environmental mindset, the demands of today are met, while also responsibly caring for the well-being of future generations. Actions based on these seven key emphases will strengthen city neighborhoods and make the city more beautiful and healthy. Through these measures, Reykjavík City will lead in implementing eco-friendly solutions and sustainable development in planning.

Seven key focuses


In an environmentally friendly neighborhood, a vibrant, energetic community flourishes. People of all ages live there—families with children, couples, individuals, and retirees—because of the diverse housing and living arrangement options. The area boasts nearby shopping and services, bustling daily life, entertainment, and sports activities. In an environmentally friendly neighborhood, the residents have actively participated in shaping their immediate environment.

Housing quality

An environmentally friendly neighborhood respects its architectural history, cityscape, and street view. The area has one or more city streets and neighborhood centers with diverse commerce and services. The main streets of the neighborhood have been redesigned to accommodate all modes of travel, with greenery, good lighting, and benches. Public spaces, such as play and outdoor recreation areas, are in the neighborhood, and walking paths are sheltered thanks to trees and structures. In an environmentally friendly, residents have opportunities for urban farming, growing vegetables on both plots and municipal land.


Transportation in an environmentally friendly neighborhood prioritizes pedestrians, cyclists, and public transportation. Public transport stops are within reasonable walking distance for all residents in the area. Public transport is frequent, and a dense network of bike and walking paths connects the city. Busy roads are safe, speed limits are in force, and parking spaces are arranged to make efficient use of valuable land. Residents of an environmentally friendly neighborhood use eco-friendly forms of transportation, reducing suspended particulates, air pollution, and noise as a result.

Ecosystems and heritage

In an environmentally friendly neighborhood, ecosystems and natural areas are cared for. Biodiversity and balance are maintained. Interesting geological formations and vegetation are protected and measures are taken to prevent pollution from reaching sensitive areas. Waterfront neighborhoods—see, rivers, or lakes—allow native nature to thrive. Rainwater is managed with Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) and directed through the neighborhood in streams and ponds. Archaeological and cultural heritage as well as interesting houses and street views are protected.

Energy and resources

In an environmentally friendly neighborhood, residents use energy and resources sustainably. Greenhouse gas emissions are minimized, and urban vegetation sequesters carbon from the atmosphere. Eco-friendly energy sources are used efficiently, and waste is sorted and recycled. Residents have walking access to nearby recycling drop-off points where they can trade useful items. The area has charging stations for electric cars and easy access to shared vehicles. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a crucial part of the City's strategy, which aims to be carbon-neutral by 2040.


When building new structures in an environmentally friendly neighborhood, eco-friendly solutions and materials are used. Older structures are allowed to change and evolve with additions, maintenance, and new eco-friendly solutions. Part of this is adapting the insulation of older structures to improve energy efficiency. This approach reduces the negative impact of construction on the environment and nature while making the urban environment more human-friendly and healthy.

Natural disasters

An environmentally friendly neighborhood is planned with potential natural disasters in mind—earth movements, floods, and storms due to climate change. New buildings are located outside known fault areas and away from avalanche and landslide risk zones. Rising sea levels are taken into account, and measures are taken to reduce the risk of flooding. Trees are planted to hold soil and temper wind, and the cityscape is shaped to provide shelter and reduce the hazard to people and property.