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Conflict to collaboration SIMBY

The Bugle App

Lynne Strong

06 June 2024, 12:00 AM

Conflict to collaboration SIMBY

Our community Facebook pages, and the local media are buzzing with debates and concerns over the planned housing and development expansions. On one side, we have the YIMBYs (Yes In My Backyard), pushing for more housing and urban density, while on the other, the NIMBYs (Not In My Backyard) are raising valid concerns about preserving our neighbourhood’s character and quality of life. Adding to the mix is a generational divide, with many young people feeling antagonistic towards Boomers. But here is the thing: we need to stop seeing each other as adversaries and start working together for sustainable solutions. Enter SIMBY: Sustainable In My Backyard.

Let’s face it—both YIMBYs and NIMBYs have legitimate points. YIMBYs argue that increasing housing supply is crucial for making homes more affordable and accessible, especially for younger generations who are struggling to find affordable places to live. They envision a vibrant, walkable community with more housing options, better public transport, and less urban sprawl.

On the flip side, NIMBYs worry about the impact of new developments on our community’s character, property values, and infrastructure. They fear that increased density could lead to congestion, strain on public services, and a loss of the charm that makes our neighbourhoods unique.

While these perspectives seem conflicting, they both stem from a deep care for our community and a desire for a high quality of life. Instead of clashing, we need to bridge these divides.

Now, let’s talk about the elephant in the room: the generational tension. Many young people, the YIMBYs, feel that Boomers benefited from lower housing prices and now resist the changes needed to make housing affordable for everyone. They see Boomers as obstacles to progress. Meanwhile, Boomers, with their established homes and lifestyles, worry about the disruptions that new developments might bring.

But here’s a thought: What if we viewed Boomers not as obstacles but as critical partners and powerful allies?

SIMBY—Sustainable In My Backyard—aims to do just that. It is about finding a balanced approach to development that respects everyone’s concerns and harnesses the strengths of all generations.

Here’s why SIMBY is the way forward.

SIMBY fosters dialogue and understanding between different generations and perspectives. It is about debunking myths and reducing antagonism by recognising that we all want what’s best for our community.

By working together, we can find innovative solutions that balance the need for increased housing with preserving our community’s character. This means smart, sustainable growth that benefits everyone.

SIMBY emphasises environmentally friendly practices, promoting urban density that reduces sprawl and lowers our carbon footprint. It is about creating a greener, healthier community.

Boomers bring valuable experience, stability, and resources. Their involvement can help garner broader support for sustainable initiatives and guide the development of practical and effective solutions.

Boomers are deeply rooted in our community. They have seen its evolution and care about its future. Their established presence and political influence can be instrumental in advocating for and implementing sustainable policies. Their long-term perspective can inform more balanced and realistic planning.

Our community is at a crossroads. We can choose to remain divided, clashing over every new development proposal, or we can choose to come together, leveraging the strengths and insights of all generations to create a thriving, sustainable future.

SIMBY is about embracing a new mindset—one that sees potential partners instead of adversaries. It is about building a community where everyone’s needs and concerns are addressed, where sustainable growth is not just a possibility but a reality.

So, let’s put aside the labels and the blame. Let us recognise the value in each other’s perspectives and work together. By embracing the SIMBY approach, we can ensure that our community remains a wonderful place to live, now and for future generations.

Let’s make Sustainable In My Backyard more than just a slogan. Let’s make it our community’s commitment.