Urban Redevelopment: A Case Of Failing To See Who’s There

fops photo by David Krieger is licensed under CC BY 2.0
NIMBY? Developers can self-ambush by ignoring the actual neighbours and their aspirations.

Shelterforce has just published an article about local residents opposing development in their neighbourhood in Camden, New Jersey. Far from being the typical NIMBY story, where people with money oppose any plans to add housing for people who don’t, these opponents have low incomes.

Puzzled, Stephen Danley interviewed the opponents. He wondered why the developments met with such stubborn opposition, despite claims that the local residents would benefit from the new amenities and services that would come with the developments.

Danley learned that the proposals for redevelopment were pitched to people who lived outside the area, not the residents. He also identified that the local experience with other redevelopments in the area excluded local residents and restricted their access to the planned public spaces. Now their opposition made a lot more sense.

Planners and policy makers who are thinking about redevelopment have come to understand and expect opposition to local projects from those with resources and influence, the upper and middle classes. By taking us through his investigation, Danley discusses why economically disadvantaged neighbours oppose developments, even when developers may argue that the disadvantaged neighbours will receive benefits. It also demonstrates the value of engaging local residents of all classes in redevelopment planning from the start. Read more in Shelterforce: Why Do Low-Income Residents Oppose Development Even When Displacement Risk Is Low?