Public Housing And Proud Of It? You Can Shout NIMBY, Too

A crowded anti demolitin protest featuring hand drawn signs and a majority of black faces
A New Orleans protest against demolishing public housing. Given public housing's bad press, it's a shock for some when the tenants are proud of their homes and their community.

NIMBY is an enduring feature of proposals that bring “undesirable elements” into some form of contact with established neighbourhoods, usually ones that are at least firmly middle class. Manning the battlements, long-standing residents find many reasons to protest the possible incursion of undesirable change. That can mean everything from irrational fear of the economically disadvantaged, to high-rises blocking the sunlight to grow carrots in the backyard, or to unacceptable traffic congestion.

Some complaints are sober and well-founded. Others verge on the absurd. Whatever. Not In My Back Yard, if you please.

In the Borough of McKees Rocks, the worm has turned. Historically, new low income housing proposals invariably trigger NIMBY reactions. But in the Borough of McKees Rocks, an existing public housing complex is on the Not In My Backyard side, supporting the Borough’s legal suit against an Allegheny County Agency. That agency might just be about to invade the neighbourhood. How, or why is not yet clear, but there is the stink of sewage (metaphorically speaking at least) in neighbourhood nostrils.

What has triggered this unusual NIMBY action on behalf of public housing tenants? Read more in The Pittsburg Post-Gazette: McKees Rocks sues Alcosan to stop construction near public housing, shopping center