Also called NIMBY, the not in my backyard phenomenon is a colloquialism that signifies one’s opposition to the location of something undesirable in one’s neighborhood.
The phrase is thought to have originated in the mid-1970s.
In this blog, we’ll discuss how NIMBY is used and why you should be aware of this characterization.
1. What is not in my backyard?
As noted above, “not in my backyard” is a characterization of opposition by residents to proposed developments in their local areas.
Using this saying, they are demonstrating their support for strict land use regulations.
It indicates that they are not only opposing the development nearby but that they would not tolerate or support it if it were built farther away.
2. What is the history of not in my backyard?
The word NIMBY appeared in a June 1980 newspaper article in Virginia.
Here is the quote, “Some call it the NIMBY Syndrome. That’s NIMBY, as in ‘Not-in-my-back-yard.”
The concept behind the term — locally organized resistance to unwanted land uses — is likely to have originated earlier (perhaps in the 1950s).
3. What are people who support “not in my backyard” called?
Residents who support this position are often referred to as NIMBYs and their viewpoint is called NIMBYism.
4. What are examples of projects that are likely to be opposed by NIMBYs?
Here is a list of some of the projects that may be opposed by NIMBYs:
Oil and chemical pipelines
Sewage treatment systems
Adult entertainment clubs
Mobile phone masts
Nuclear waste repositories
Storage of weapons of mass destruction
Recreational cannabis shops
Accommodations for people applying for asylum, refugees, or displaced persons
5. What is the rationale for the “not in my backyard” campaign?
Above, there is a long list of all the additions to a neighborhood that NIMBYs may resist.
If you don’t immediately align with this mindset, your initial question may be…why?
What is the rationale for why they’d object to this development?
Here are some of the reasons.
Ex: Infrastructure development for new roads, motorway service areas, light rail, metro lines, airports, power plants, retail developments, sales of public assets, electrical transmissions lines, wastewater treatment plants, landfills, sewage outfalls, and prions.
Harm to locally owned businesses
Ex: Big box store installation can bring harmful competition to locally owned stores
Loss of residential property value
Businesses offering goods or services that are immoral
Ex: Adult video, liquor stores, medical cannabis dispensaries
Environmental pollution of land, air, and water
Ex: Power plants, factories, chemical facilities, crematoriums, sewage treatment facilities can all have environmental impacts on the neighborhoods they’re in
Noise and light pollution
Ex: Projects like airports or roads can be noisy or cause light pollution as they operate during the night
Loss of community’s small-town feel
New houses can sometimes change the community’s character
Strain of public resources
Ex: Any increase to the local area’s population (i.e., children’s home or accommodations for refugees) can place a strain on a local area’s resources to serve their existing population
Increases in crime
Ex: This is normally said in reference to any projects that are perceived as attracting or employing low-skill or racial minorities as well as projects that cater to people who are thought to often commit crimes (i.e., mentally ill, poor, drug addicts, etc.)