NIMBYS: Building In Your Backyard
A host of residential projects are filling in the gaps across the Auckland cityscape. In some neighbourhoods where older, antiquated buildings in desperate need of repair once were eyesores or an inadequate use of space have now been introduced to new glistening residential buildings.
Public opinion over these new residential projects is often portrayed as one-sided: the opposing side, or NIMBYs (not in my backyard). Yet, there is another side to Auckland’s residential building wave that often goes ignored: Aucklanders who are in favour of developers introducing quality housing options to a city where so many people simply can’t find anywhere to live.
Recent real estate development projects have hit a little too close to home for some Aucklanders. Rather, the projects are often touted as being a nuisance or even going against the wishes or culture of the neighbourhood, or in their “backyard” – a saying that eludes to the idea that these new residential projects are being built so densely in certain neighbourhoods that their negative impact far outweighs the positive.
This more visible, opposing group has been coined NIMBYs, or Not In My Backyard. The group that supports these developments, as well as the inclusion of many more, are referred to as YIMBYs, or Yes In My Backyard.
The San Francisco-based group, which is headed by Laura Foote Clark, leads a campaign which targets cities that don’t approve of building projects. YIMBYs takes aim at single-family homeowners in dense urban neighbourhoods, as single-family homes in many densely populated cities are often seen as insufficient uses of space.
Why YIMBYS Say Yes
In line with the current developmental phases, YIMBYs advocate for the results of these new housing projects going up in Aucklanders’ “backyards.”
From their point of view, the New Zealand market, specifically Auckland, clearly wants density as well as a greater, more sophisticated choice in housing. YIMBY groups want a reduced need for cars as a primary method of transportation around the city as well as for dense infill housing to be built close to transportation networks.
In most urban centres, these very factors determine the demand and desirability of an area while also meeting the needs of the greater population to not only have quality housing, but also housing that is located where people live and work.
The deeper significance of Chiu’s commentary is how it eludes to the fact that the neighbours, or the people who already have somewhere to live, have voices that are so heavily influential that the bigger picture is being ignored.
Like a lot of other worldly cities – i.e. like where the YIMBY group was founded, San Francisco – housing shortages are pushing people to their limits. For this reason, allowing the YIMBYs voices to be heard only speaks to the increasing demand for housing in Auckland’s urban fringe as well as the opportunity and welcoming for new, high-quality residential projects.
The Newshub opinion by Matthew Hutching refers specifically to the terraced housing development that Beau Consultants successfully secured consent for. Beau Consultants researched the market and created a product that meets the needs of the modern family lifestyle.
Thank you Matthew Hutching for providing a counterpoint to the oft vocal NIMBYs. We are listening and responding to what you want to see in your housing.
And if you want more of this kind of development taking place in your city, like this post and share with your friends!