What we can learn from Nordic countries about affordable housing

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The article below is an op-ed by MAP Founding Principal Magnus Magnusson published in Crains New York Business, May 15, 2023

Everyone is talking about making New York housing more affordable and plentiful. But there are lessons from a unique “home-centric” culture that shouldn’t be overlooked.

As an Iceland-born architect who has been designing housing in New York for more than 30 years, I’ve seen the achievements and failures of our system—and I’ve seen solutions from the Scandinavian countries that can work here.

The Nordic countries—Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland—have always been centered on home. Their culture has a concept called “hygge” (Danish) or “hugg” (Icelandic-old Norse) that captures the ideal of a Nordic home: warm, welcoming and comfortable, a place where you are safe and your heart resides. The tradition underpins the priority these countries give to quality housing.

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