“The downtown is for foot people, the suburbs are for car people, the centre is dense, the outskirts are not.” I have told this story myself a couple of times. But is it true? The data used for the following map comes from the Statistical Office of Iceland.
The points are scattered randomly and evenly around each quarter just as in NYT’s Mapping America, project.
The downtown area (in the NW part of the map/town) is the most populated one. You can see that. You can also see the wide space to the south of it, where the domestic airport is located.
Yes, Reykjavik is rather spread. But in fact it’s places like Breiðholt, Grafarvogur og Árbær are THAT spread internally, really, rather they lie a bit far away from one another.
So maybe the correlation “density=good to walk” isn’t that strongly founded. Maybe, if one wants to create a more pedestrian friendly town, other things such as, habits, public transport, (un)availability of parking spaces and more mixing of residential and commercial areas are more important?