The Many Colours of NIMBY: Keeping It Green For Everyone

A leafy walking trail through the woods.
Janesville Outdoors photo by Jeramey Jannene is licensed under CC BY 2.0
A Janesville, WI, walking trail. People take lots of pictures of green space. It's important to them.

NIMBY: Not in My Back Yard. Part of an ongoing collection of articles exploring some of the many ways that a worldwide affordable housing crisis is opposed.

In our little series of posts covering NIMBY attitudes, there are two elephants in the room, one ‘good,’ the other ‘bad,’ which we seldom talk about.

The first elephant is perhaps too obvious to be mentioned. Defending the neighbourhood against simple change is utterly reasonable. You’d like to live in the style of neighbourhood you first fell in love with? And you want to continue to preserve the value of your home, if you own one? Who wouldn’t, even in the face of outside pressures to change.

The second elephant is prejudice, whether racist or ageist or any other kind. Seldom overt and therefore hard to identify, prejudices lurk in the shadows of those rather ‘over the top’ NIMBY justifications which we are more inclined to poke fun at than take seriously.

Rare among our NIMBY offerings are positive reasons to avoid change beyond the reasonable hope of keeping the neighbourhood the way its always been. This post is one of those NIMBYs.

Communities have other priorities than changing zoning bylaws to allow the housing industry to build high, dense affordable housing (even though they’ll wait to be bribed to do it and build high, dense luxury housing in the meantime).

Another community priority is, or certainly should be, preserving green space, for a host of reasons from climate change to mental health.

When it comes to preserving green space, a neighbourhood defence may be a battle fought for an entire community. Read more about one example from Wisconsin at CHANNEL 3000: Affordable Housing Proposal In Janesville Has Neighbors Concerned About Its Location