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You might be a YIMBY if...

Affordablehousingmeme

By Rik Keller

You might be a YIMBY[1] if:

  1. You advocate for zoning deregulation and “filter down” affordable housing thinking those are very different from Reaganomics, deregulation, and trickle-down housing.

  2. You are a “faux-gressive” who laces your rhetoric with terms like “social justice” and “equity” and “sustainability” without thinking of the impropriety of appropriating and co-opting those terms; meanwhile, the effects of the policies you promote kick people of color out of their homes in lower-income areas  and promote unregulated sprawl  onto farmland or habitat.

  3. You pretend that people who point out the deep connections of your movement to development real estate interests and funding are “conspiracy theorists.”

  4. You need a foil to vilify, so you pretend there are organized NIMBY[2] groups that want nothing built anywhere ever, then ferociously battle this strawman.

  5. You claim we have “under-built” housing for decades and blame it on the NIMBY boogeyman without evidence.

  6. You think that because you took one economics class in college and learned one thing (the “law” of supply and demand, not really a law at all), you understand complex housing markets and that your simplistic prescriptions are “solutions”.

  7. You engage in naive magical thinking, conjuring up a world where if you build more housing, only the people you want to move in, move in—no rich out-of-town investors! —and developers will want to build so much housing that prices will drop, reducing their profit margins.

  8. You claim affordable housing activists who advocate for specific affordable housing programs are too naive to understand how free market capitalism and Econ 101 will benefit them.

  9. You avoid even mentioning actual programs that produce affordable housing such as inclusionary zoning programs and funding public housing.

  10. You believe that “build baby build” is the only answer and eschew all other solutions or even suggestions as to how to get affordable housing built.

  11. You don't care where you build. It could be next to a freeway, in a historic neighborhood, on prime farmland, or wherever—just build.

  12. Your movement belittles, insults, and vilifies anyone who points out the flaws in your reasoning as a way to distract from the real issues.

  13. You try to start class wars and generational wars, pitting the middle class (especially older) against people with lower incomes, in favor of high-income developers.

 

[1] YIMBY stands for “Yes In My Back Yard.” However, since YIMBYs often advocate for building in other areas outside of where they live, YIYBY (“Yes In Your Back Yard”) might be more accurate, albeit not as easy to say. “BANANAS” (Build ANything ANywhere AlwayS) is another suggested acronym. Self-identified YIMBYs have been making their presence known in Davis.

[2] NIMBY stands for “Not in My Back Yard.” No one actually calls themselves this; it’s an insult that YIYBYs (see previous footnote) like to sling against anyone who tries to argue for good projects and good planning.

 

Comments

Ron O

I love this, including the "Jeff Foxworthy" style. But I'd add the following:

14. You advocate for freeway-oriented developments with thousands of parking spaces (and which creates additional demand for housing), while claiming to be concerned about climate change and housing shortages.

15. You work for a developer PR firm, such as Spafford and Lincoln.

16. You're a member of the UCD College Democrats, and/or Sustainable Growth Yolo.

Eileen Samitz

This is a really good synopsis particularly for folks unfamiliar with the YIMBY term. Thanks much Rik, for sharing this very educational article.

Keith

Very good article, and I'd like to add to Ron's additions:

17. You can infer racism or actually resort to calling anyone a racist who disagrees with you.

Ron O

18. If you're suing the state, to increase RHNA housing requirements:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/realestate/san-francisco-s-jobs-to-housing-ratio-is-disturbing-here-s-how-wide-the-gap-is-getting/ar-AALTxZO

https://www.sfweekly.com/news/yimbys-sue-for-even-more-housing-via-rhna/
(UCD's own "YIMBY" law professor is cited in the latter article above.)

Keith

I don't think they should be called YIMBY's because I don't think most of them really want development too close to their own homes. But they are okay with development if it's close to someone else's home.

So YIYBY would be a better term, Yes In Your Back Yard.

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