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NIMBY - Not in My Back Yard

NIMBY - Not in My Back Yard


An attitude of opposition to development projects in one's community. While defended as Jane Jacob's-style neighborhood preservation, it can often be used to safeguard expensive real-estate, maintain "aesthetics", and perpetuate social inequality.


The term arose in the 1970's, describing New York's fiscal crisis by people fighting for environmental justice, before evolving over time to more critically connote a sense of selfishness (source).

Everyday Use

As you might take walks in the mornings, it's easy to see this one play out — a sense of judgment, jealousy, or indictment on our neighbors. But it can also be the inverse — a sense of nostalgia and protection for a vision of our collective neighborhoods that maybe doesn't currently exist, never did exist, and might even be contributing to an unsustainable version of the world where it's easier to "other" people that we don't think belong than it is to simply open our doors and step into a collective future.