7. Settlement, urban environment and good housing

To develop the towns and settlements in the municipality in a sustainable manner, we need to apply a long-term perspective and broad approach, which involves securing good living and housing conditions for people without compromising the environment or nature. Sustainable planning is also characterised by financial responsibility, which means prioritising our efforts and dealing pragmatically with settlement tendencies and demographic trends. Since our towns and settlements face very different challenges, the development will greatly depend on local conditions and potentials. Future planning will focus on densification, increased traffic safety, well-functioning residential areas and room for life between houses.

General planning principles

Across the municipality, spatial planning must include a long-term perspective to meet demographic development trends and future needs. The average household is getting smaller, and the percentage of senior citizens will increase immensely in years to come. Consequently, our planning must fulfil the increasing need for dwellings for singles and couples without children.

Everywhere, we are facing the challenge of maintaining our housing stock, which means that the service life of many buildings is shorter than expected. In cooperation with INI, we want to prepare a maintenance plan for homes owned by the municipality and the government, to ensure they stay fit for longer.

Regarding new buildings, we will also prioritise solutions that are easy to maintain, and require that cladding be made of durable materials, such as wood. It will also be necessary to stipulate that new buildings must be made using sustainable materials and with due consideration of the environment, to ensure effective energy utilisation.

We must also ensure that heavy industry be placed at a suitable distance from residential areas to not cause environmental impacts affecting citizens and urban life. In Ilulissat, in the long term, we want to relocate heavy industry from our town centre.

Development plans for towns 

We must make sure that the standard of living in towns keeps up with the times and that planning meets tomorrow’s demographic needs.

In Ilulissat, the derived effects of airport investments will, among other things, lead to many new jobs and thereby an increasing demand for dwellings. With that in mind, we have prepared a development plan for Ilulissat Nord, outlining specific plans for how to develop Nordre Næs and the northern part of Ilulissat, providing attractive areas for dwellings, businesses and cultural and leisure facilities. We will work to provide a variety of dwellings. 38 per cent of citizens in Ilulissat live alone, which indicates that small dwellings will be in increasing demand. The first step is to utilise the existing areas and identify alternatives to the current drinking-water lake in order to move the water protection zone. We will also work to upgrade the road system by adding a new airport road, thereby increasing passability and coherence between town neighbourhoods.

We want to develop vibrant urban and residential areas, where interaction between dwellings, urban areas and service trades form the basis for dynamic neighbourhoods and contribute to the good life. The town’s neglected or empty spaces should to the extent possible be activated to create a sense of dynamics and safety, through temporary activities, playgrounds and places for gathering. We must also earmark areas for paths and pavements to link neighbourhoods, improve traffic safety for pedestrians and cyclists and boost public health. We must also integrate areas for keeping dogs in the future planning, to make them easily accessible, while considering wetlands and noise. 

We should also develop an architectural policy to secure coherence, define the framework for the layout of the physical environment and contribute to developing a town of diversity. Our cultural heritage, including listed and preservation-worthy buildings, should also be part of the architectural policy.

In Uummannaq, Upernavik and Qaanaaq, development should to the extent possible be based on densification of the existing building stock. We must secure good conditions for businesses and good possibilities for leisure and association activities by developing areas and spaces for joint activities. To do that, we must map what buildings void of function have the potential to be put to different use.

When developing new neighbourhoods, we must work with Nukissiorfiit and the Government of Greenland. In Uummannaq and Upernavik, new neighbourhoods will primarily be developed to the northwest of the towns, and in Upernavik, we are building a new road to link the new area to the existing town. In Qaanaaq, we must examine where and how to best build since it has no bedrock.

We will work to increase housing standards, especially in the north where a lot of people often live in small, unhealthy dwellings, due to lack of maintenance. We will work to renovate part of the existing housing stock, where possible, and ensure that the size of future dwellings match the citizens’ needs.

Development plans for settlements

We will maintain the good life in settlements. Therefore, we want to analyse and map the challenges and potentials of local communities, in order to prepare a long-term plan to help prioritise initiatives and means, and improve the physical environment in settlements.

In settlements, to a high extent, businesses are the reason why people settle there. Consequently, it is necessary to ensure flexible spatial planning, to secure good conditions for whaling, sealing and fishery. Many settlements struggle with poor roads and port facilities. We will work to improve infrastructure and supply possibilities since those are key to a wellfunctioning business community and personal lives.

A lot of worn-down buildings, void of function, are taking up attractive space, which has a negative effect on the quality of life and how we experience the physical environment. Therefore, we will prepare a strategy for how to reuse good plots and make our settlements more beautiful, including preparing renovation plans for each settlement. 

The town plan will work to:

  • Ensure that new residential and industrial areas are zoned with due consideration of the local community, the environment, and the unique local qualities and cultural history
  • Create vibrant urban environments with mixed functions and good outdoor areas and activities
  • Extending green wedges in communities to become coherent connections, well away from traffic
  • Carefully utilise land resources and densify where it contributes positively
  • Integrate the development plan for Ilulissat Nord
  • Prepare development plans for the three towns
  • Prepare development plans for the settlements

Sector activities will focus on:

  • Financing of site development
  • Preparing architectural policy
  • Preparing a strategy for urban beautification and reuse of plots