How to turn Nimbys into Yimbys?

Nimbyism is the result of bad planning decisions, suggests an article in the i newspaper. The example quoted is the crumbling Hammersmith flyover. Instead of going for the obvious and replacing it with a flashy new flyover, Hammersmith proposes a “fly-under” (ie, a tunnel). The costs would be high, the construction work would be disruptive – but it would reunite an area split by traffic and give it back to residents, and at least some of the cost would be recouped by selling off regained land. And, although a big planning initiative like this would be expected to kick off the usual public protests, it has widespread local support.

Planners should learn from this, suggests the writer. Nimbyism should not be written off as a knee-jerk reaction to any new development, whatever it may be. It is “born of the experience that new development is far more likely to benefit the developer (in profit) and the council (in increased revenues) than anyone who actually lives there.” But if a project can be seen to be imaginative and beneficial, it can get the public on-side.

Food for thought?

3 thoughts on “How to turn Nimbys into Yimbys?

  1. Arthur Percival

    Is there an element of confusion here, perhaps? People have a democratic right to say ‘not in my back yard’, and this should be upheld. But if they believe that a development is not just not in their own interest, but also not in the interest of the community at large, it helps if they say so, and explain why, and then, if possible go on to say TIARS (there is another realistic solution) and not just to say this but to say constructively what that solution might be.

    1. Hilary Whelan

      Can we make that There Is A Realistic Alternative? – then we can be TIARAs, which is more fun than Nimbys.
      I think the point the journalist was trying to make is that if the planners work with the community in the first place, they will get support instead of having to fight battles – most people don’t object just for the sake of being a nuisance.
      I entirely agree about constructive criticism – but then it must be taken seriously. Things become destructive when TIARAs make their case and are ignored. Especially if they are ignored repeatedly.


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