The Many Colours of NIMBY: My Back Yard is The Entire Planet!

image of 2014 Climate Change demonstration in Vancouver
A 2014 Climate Change demonstration in Vancouver. Yes to green jobs, public services and social needs. But not to affordable housing, apparently.

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.

From North Vancouver, British Columbia comes a report of a council rejecting an affordable housing proposal. With Vancouver boasting some of the world’s most unaffordable housing, that doesn’t prevent wealthy ‘I’m All Right, Jack’ districts from manning the battlements against the invasion of affordable housing.

To come to their decision, the North Vancouver District Council was presented with a smorgasbord of some of the usual NIMBY suspects: housing unacceptably dense, traffic jams, parking issues, etc.

One which captured our attention, though, ingeniously changes the subject from the impact on the neighbourhood — the almost inevitable focus of NIMBYite concerns — to the impact on the planet.

Will the design of the affordable housing project help prevent climate change? Is it ‘green?’ And the answer? Quite possibly not. At least no more than any of the other housing in the neighbourhood.

Which raises a significant question: should the burden of preventing climate change be placed on the shoulders of those citizens who will occupy the handful of new units? Or should it be placed on the shoulders of the tens of thousands of housing-wealthy homeowners whose houses, by and large, are not ‘green’?

Following the old saying ‘those who live in greenhouse-gas-emitting houses shouldn’t throw stones,’ surely it would be appropriate for a neighborhood requiring a high standard of planet-friendly housing to convert their vastly greater number of planet-polluting housing into greener homes.

Instead, defenders of the neighbourhood ramparts are quick to seize upon a new NIMBY that identifies the entire planet ‘My Back Yard’ and demands a higher admission price than incomers have paid before.  Read more in the north shore news: District of North Van rejects affordable housing project



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