Yes in My Back Yard activists started with a simple—and some would say simplistic—argument: to solve the nation’s housing crisis we just need to build more housing, of any type and in as many places as possible. But as the movement nears a decade of existence, some of its members argue that their message has become more nuanced.
NIMBYism is often expressed as concerns about crime, congestion, schools, property values, and “quality of life.” But when developments are built these fears rarely come to pass.
A common narrative being promoted about why there is a housing crisis ignores history and serves to assuage new residents’ guilty feelings. But we can craft a new narrative together.
It’s not because they’re stupid. If we want to convince people, we need to stop yelling and start listening.
As tenant struggles become a bigger focus of activist recruitment, Randy Shaw’s new book, Generation Priced Out, is an essential organizing guide.
The data on the relationship between new development, affordability, and displacement is not nearly as clear-cut as advocates (of all persuasions) often imply.
For-profit housing cannot meet most renters’ needs, and that’s by design. So when you talk about market-rate construction and displacement, use the following literature review as reference.
If we built enough housing, we would still need subsidized housing for many people, but market prices would be low enough that most people could afford them. But we’ve chosen not to. And the reason we give for that choice, more than any other, is that we are trying to preserve or improve the character of our communities.
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