Not In My Backyard: 8 Things (2024) You Need to Know

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:

bulletHousing development

bulletPedestrian infrastructure


bulletHomeless shelters

bulletOil wells

bulletChemical plants

bulletOil and chemical pipelines

bulletIndustrial parks

bulletMilitary bases

bulletSewage treatment systems


bulletWind turbines

bulletDesalination plants

bulletLandfill sites


bulletPower plants




bulletAdult entertainment clubs

bulletConcert venues

bulletFirearms dealers

bulletMobile phone masts

bulletElectricity pylons

bulletAbortion clinics

bulletChildren’s homes

bulletNursing homes

bulletYouth hostels

bulletSports stadiums

bulletShopping malls

bulletRetail parks

bulletDiscount stores

bulletPublic schools



bulletHighway expansion



bulletGrocery stores

bulletNuclear waste repositories

bulletStorage of weapons of mass destruction

bulletCannabis dispensaries

bulletRecreational cannabis shops

bulletMethadone clinics

bulletAccommodations 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.

bulletIncreased traffic

Ex: Infrastructure development for new roads, motorway service areas, light rail, metro lines, airports, power plants, retail developments, sales of public assets, electrical transmission lines, wastewater treatment plants, landfills, sewage outfalls, and prions.

bulletHarm to locally owned businesses

Ex: Big box store installation can bring harmful competition to locally owned stores

bulletLoss of residential property value

bulletBusinesses offering goods or services that are immoral

Ex: Adult video, liquor stores, medical cannabis dispensaries

bulletEnvironmental pollution of land, air, and water

Ex: Power plants, factories, chemical facilities, crematoriums, and sewage treatment facilities can all have environmental impacts on the neighborhoods they’re in

bulletNoise and light pollution

Ex: Projects like airports or roads can be noisy or cause light pollution as they operate during the night