Managing Local Opposition to Affordable Housing: A New Approach to NIMBY

The development of affordable housing and services for low and moderate income households has been plagued by local opposition (commonly referred to as the not-in-my-back-yard or NIMBY syndrome) for decades. Many affordable housing developers view local opposition is the most important barrier to development after insufficient subsidy. A hardening of racial and economic attitudes and increasing opposition to growth and development of all kinds suggest that local opposition is likely to remain and even get worse. Based upon the experience of two successful multi-year regional projects to confront local opposition in the San Francisco Bay Area, this article proposes a novel approach to local opposition called Managing Local Opposition (MLO) that combines proactive planning by the developer with legal strategies, community organizing and public relations strategies.

Publication Date: 
United States