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Home* News and Stories → Nor­we­gi­an sta­te buys housing space in Lon­gye­ar­by­en

Nor­we­gi­an sta­te buys housing space in Lon­gye­ar­by­en

The Nor­we­gi­an govern­ment wants more con­trol on the ground in Sval­bard. This has beco­me umist­aka­b­ly clear through a ran­ge of poli­ti­cal pro­jects, inclu­ding the ongo­ing dis­cus­sion about limi­ta­ti­ons of public access to lar­ge parts of Sval­bard and the with­dra­wal of local voting rights for for­eig­ners.

Housing is ano­ther important issue in Lon­gye­ar­by­en. The housing mar­ket is dif­fi­cult, and indi­vi­du­als wit­hout strong eco­no­mics expe­ri­ence serious dif­fi­cul­ties when try­ing to find a place to live. In con­trast to else­whe­re, you can’t just move a cou­ple of miles out of town and com­mu­te by bus. Major employ­ers own living space to make sure their employees can actual­ly live in Lon­gye­ar­by­en.

housebuilding Elvesletta Longyearbyen

House­buil­ding in cen­tral loca­ti­on in Elves­let­ta, Lon­gye­ar­by­en.

Many of Longyearbyen’s lar­ger employ­ers are public, eit­her direct­ly or indi­rect­ly. That includes Sys­sel­mes­ter, the local admi­nis­tra­ti­on (inclu­ding school, kin­der­gar­ten, hos­pi­tal, …), Store Nor­ske (the mining com­pa­ny), UNIS etc. Some of them own housing space, and in other cases flats are owned and admi­nis­te­red by Stats­bygg, a public aut­ho­ri­ty that does exact­ly that: owning, run­ning and deve­lo­ping pro­per­ty on behalf of the govern­ment for public insti­tu­ti­ons and sta­te-owned com­pa­nies.

Stats­bygg does alre­a­dy have a major num­ber of flats in Lon­gye­ar­by­en. This num­ber is now to grow signi­fi­cant­ly: as Sval­bard­pos­ten wro­te, Stats­bygg will invest 173 mil­lio­nen kro­ner (curr­ent­ly slight­ly under 15 mil­li­on Euro) in housing spaces. The who­le block of Elves­let­ta 2 and 3, which is curr­ent­ly under con­s­truc­tion, is con­cer­ned, with a total of 27 flats.

In return, Stats­bygg will release an equi­va­lent num­ber of flats that are owned by Store Nor­ske. In con­trast to Stats­bygg, Store Nor­ske can offer them to ever­y­bo­dy on the housing mar­ket, inclu­ding pri­va­te indi­vi­du­als. But also Store Nor­ske is owned by the govern­ment, which can thus con­trol who can live in Lon­gye­ar­by­en and who can not live the­re.

Visi­tors to Lon­gye­ar­by­en will quick­ly get the impres­si­on that the place is gro­wing mad­ly by means of the lar­ge con­s­truc­tion sites. But this impres­si­on is mis­lea­ding, becau­se a lar­ge num­ber of flats were also lost during and after the cata­stro­phic ava­lan­che of 2015. This loss of living space is obvious­ly less appa­rent.

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last modification: 2023-10-19 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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