Affordable Housing Wars: True ‘YIMBY’ Can Outflank NIMBY

laneway with garages and housing
Naeher Street, West End, Cincinnati, OH (27229495907) photo by Warren LeMay is licensed under CC0 1.0
Accessory dwelling units from another era.

By all means, let’s hear it for true YIMBY. Hold that thought. We’ll be coming back to it.

True YIMBY? Does that mean there’s a fake YIMBY? Of course there is!

Better pause, though, for some definitions that will become important to this discussion. YIMBY is an acronym based on NIMBY, which stands for ‘Not in My Back Yard.’

NIMBY is largely pop-up grass-roots activism on a neighbourhood level. NIMBY more accurately stands for ‘Not in My Neighbourhood,’ or NIMN, which never caught on.

It’s easy to be sympathetic to NIMBYites, intent as they are on preserving their way of life as they stand upon their neighbourhood ramparts, challenging affordable housing proposals which may well change the shape and atmosphere of their tiny worlds.

YIMBY (as we slowly get to the point) stands for ‘Yes In My Back Yard.’ But fake YIMBY has absolutely nothing to do with ‘My’ anything. Fake YIMBYites are part of a national movement in America, which has leaked as a philosophy to other countries.

Members of this national YIMBY movement are happy to support changes to ‘Your’ neighbourhood. This YIMBY movement supports the housing industry’s theory that building more, faster and higher (regardless of what kind of housing, even luxury housing) is the way to solve the housing crisis. For a perspective on how valid that assumption is, try: Trendy YIMBY Affordable Housing Activists Are Sheltered In A House Of Straw

True YIMBYites, on other hand . . . we finally got here! . . . are grassroots, neighbourhood activists, who live next door to NIMBYites, but have decided there is another way to face the changes necessary to solve a national affordable housing crisis.

So let’s hear it for the true YIMBYites of Los Angeles who are finding that neighbourhood change does not automatically lead to neighbourhood destruction. Read more in CITYLAB: A One-Stop Shop For Affordable Backyard Homes Advances In L.A.