NIMBY

Stands for Not In My Back Yard.  Derivative is ‘nimbyism’.  A pejorative term, used to describe those who agree with a development that has social benefit, but oppose it happening in their locality as the personal costs to them are high; often calculated in terms of property value or aesthetics.  To be a NIMBY means the reasons for opposition are seen as illegitimate, irrational or selfish.

Airports, power stations, wind farms, waste disposal sites, prisons are all examples of developments whose local opposition can attract the cry of NIMBY,  in order to close down reasonable debate on where the ‘greatest good, and least harm’ lies; and alleviate issues.

Research studies, (eg Wolsink (1994), or Lober (1996)) have concluded that what is called nimbyism, is often not the self-interested opposition (ie personal cost) to a development, but genuine questioning of the supposed social benefits,eg opposition to wind farms, spoiling sites of natural beauty that attract tourism and well being.

References

Lober, DJ (1996) Why not here? The importance of context, process, and outcome on public attitudes towards the siting of waste facilities, Society and Natural Resources, 9 (4), 375-394

Wolsink, M (1994) Entanglements of interests and motives: assumptions behind the NIMBY-theory on facility siting, Urban Studies, 6, 851-866

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