Samsø held a public meeting to discuss whether it is necessary to create more housing and more business space on 24 Sepember 2019. Land is available for new buildings.
Samsø’s innovation policy aims to create more jobs, and that will in turn attract new settlers. However, affordable housing is essential. Young couples, in particular, would like to start by renting a home, before they decide to settle on the island permanently. There are some homes to let, but these have waiting lists.
Over the past 50 years non-residents have bought a second home on Samso and renovated it. The building stock is therefore in a good condition, and house prices are rising. A drawback is that some villages are now void of life during winter, and shops have closed as a result.
Therefore, in mid-2019, the Mayor launched a public debate on reinstating an obligation to reside, particularly in the capital of Tranebjerg. It means that houseowners must also have their address there and pay tax to Samsø. The debate continued at the public meeting. A real estate agent, a politician, and a houseowner found it is a counterproductive policy, because it will make house prices drop. They felt that even just mentioning the obligation to reside, scares buyers off, and it disturbs the real estate market. The Mayor then declared that he will try to close the public debate again and forget about the proposal.
There are islands where non-residents have become dominating over time -- they crowd out the locals. Islands of Innovation, Samsø, therefore proposes an action to keep track of the building stock, in the form of a TIPPING wheel, based on official statistics of the use of the building stock. Preliminary results show that non-residents are indeed increasing their floor space, but not alarmingly so.
Approximately 50 citizens attended the public meeting. The meeting included presentations from two social housing companies. The attendants sat around tables, and every table presented their findings in plenary after a 20 minutes brainstorming session -- in the style of the good practice The Circle.
Islands of Innovation, Samsø, proposed a policy instrument change in early 2019, namely: to focus on rental homes. The meeting did exactly that.
Mr. Jantzen (jj @ energiakademiet.dk) and Mr. Kristensen of Samsø Energy Academy