The Many Colors of NIMBY: Somewhere Between Sparse And Clogged, Our Density Is To Die For

Photos of Coquitlam photo by Reg Natarajan is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Way, way too much density in Coquitlam, B.C.

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.

Ultimately, virtually all NIMBY complaints can be gathered under the ‘neighbourhood character’ heading. It’s a wonderfully vague idea based on everything in the neighbourhood being perfect today, under development and not quite perfect yesterday, and hair-raising scary if it were to change tomorrow.

There has been a growing pushback against ‘neighborhood character,’ with some jurisdictions of California — a hotbed of neighbourhood character, apparently — considering refusal to recognize the term as a valid reason to block local development.

However, there are still very useful (and supposedly more specific) NIMBY expressions, and density is one of them. As in: “We all believe in the construction of more affordable housing, but duplexes will make our neighbourhood of single family homes just too darn dense.

At the extremes, there is general agreement about density. Siberia is not dense enough. Hong Kong is too dense. In between, however, things tend to get a little fuzzy. In the end, vague preserve-our-density demands may join ‘neighborhood character’ as a discredited rallying cry.

In the meantime, however, density NIMBYites are alive and kicking back at exasperated city officials. For one example, read more in Tri-City News: Most want more housing choices in Coquitlam


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