Placemaking design helped change perceptions of Selfoss and the town now has the fastest growing community in Iceland.
Selfoss’ downtown area was in decline and needed a viable town centre. Its future had been the source of debate for decades, but it wasn’t until developer Sigtún Thróunarfélag worked with the local community and a range of experts, that a unique and differentiated place was created.
M Worldwide’s role was to mesh their suggestions together through a placemaking design strategy. The design process focused the wider team’s decision-making on what mattered for the local community and for the financial viability of the Social Enterprise concept, and delivered an understanding of the balance required of the site. It enabled the creation of a new ‘old’ town centre which meets the needs of residents, tourists and businesses, and delivers the right mix of commercial tenants and sectors to support footfall throughout the year.
A beautiful cluster of 13 new buildings in classic Icelandic style were cost effectively built from the ground up, with 40 more in the pipeline. They provide a focal point for the town and have achieved environmental certification. All the new apartments sold out without advertising, and the shops, restaurants and offices have all performed strongly in their first year, with interior designs which meet demanding modern needs. The town centre is attracting Icelandic and foreign visitors; it’s achieved a ‘very walkable’ score of 72/100 and the whole community is engaged and prospering.