Art Expression vs. City Expansion In Reykjavik
Hjartagarðurinn (“Heart Park”) is located in an abandoned square less than a block from Laugavegur, the most vibrant street of Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. It is such a colorful and culturally appealing area, especially when you are a photographer! I visited the park every day during my short visit last week, mostly when it was quiet so that I could talk with some of the locals who were there at the time. I am curious in nature and Icelanders are very open and friendly. It didn’t take too long to establish a connection and they soon shared their story with me. The future of the park is uncertain. The Reykjavik City Planning Committee announced plans last year to get rid of the park to make room for a hotel. The tourist industry is big in Iceland and growing. The local youths also need a place to hang out, vent and express themselves creatively. During the summer ‘nights’ the city rarely sleeps. Everyone enjoys the midnight sun and the park is always buzzing with skateboarders, mural artists, musicians, etc. It has also become a tourist attraction in itself. Today, the tourists are directly linked to its possible demise. Negotiations are underway in hopes that an acceptable solution will be reached. I fear for the future of the park. Will the Heart of Hjartagarðurinn still be beating when I visit Iceland again?
Here are a few pics I snapped during my recent visit: