Public access to lakeshores in Iceland

University essay from SLU/Landscape Architecture (until 121231)

Abstract: The study to assess the current state of public access to lakeshores in Iceland was done as little has been written on the subject and landowners and the public are not well-informed about their rights. The objective was to gather information about laws and regulations concerning accessibility, investigate the current situation at two particular locations regarding access to lakeshores and whether municipalities and landowners are fulfilling their obligations to allow and facilitate certain access to these areas. A lakeshore area by lake Elliðavatn was investigated as well as the lakeshore area Þorsteinsvík by lakeÞingvallavatn. Methods used were the same as landscape architects and planners use to analyse and design areas, whether in rural or urban landscapes; document and landscape analysis as well as accessibility and visual analysis. Expectations turned out to be exaggerated as the areas were far from being used to their full potential. Conclusions include a need for evaluating every location separately as conditions vary greatly and the laws and regulations must be clearer to better serve the interest of the public. Municipalities and landowners were not doing fulfilling their obligations to allow and facilitate access to the study areas.

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