NIMBY — Not In My Back Yard. Keep current by-laws. The neighbourhood is perfect just as it is. No more housing development, even though the city needs houses.
YIMBY — Yes In My (in reality, YOUR) Back Yard. Remove all by-laws (well, okay, no commercial/industrial development, etc). Let the developers decide: McMansions! High Rise Condos! It will all somehow come good.
Los Angeles is searching for a middle ground that will allow development of low-rise four-plex-style housing in hitherto single family-zoned neighbourhoods. Such housing easily blends into a neighbourhood of single family houses, while increasing the city’s much needed new housing stock.
Why does affordablehousingaction.org care? With our interest in “truly affordable” housing, including public housing, a middle ground approach to housing by-laws opens neighbourhoods to scattered social rent housing developments such as four-plexes (or even six-plexes with basement apartments).
That’s because public housing can be built on a more practical economic basis than single family homes. Scattered throughout a neighbourhood it allows the much touted (and in this case natural) development of mixed income housing, which hopefully leads to vibrant mixed-income communities. Though these particular objectives are not discussed in the following article, they are certainly worthy of thought.
Read more at Slate.com: Los Angeles Has a Plan to Disarm the NIMBYs
Some two and a half years ago, Minneapolis, Minnesota pioneered an effort to find this middle ground balance while opening up the city to more housing. Try: Minneapolis Drives A Stake Into The Heart Of The American Dreamscape. Like the apparent focus of Los Angeles’ plans, the Minneapolis council decision paves the way towards more housing. But it does not lay out a particular pathway towards more deeply affordable housing beyond a faith (possibly misguided) that the creation of any kind of housing will make the housing market as a whole more affordable.