From NIMBYism to YIGBYism

Founding Mother, Chard & Stripes

Today I’ll be super quick with an interesting tidbit.

But first, a definition of NIMBYism (courtesy of the Cambridge Dictionary):

NIMBYism—“Not In My Back Yard” ism—is “the behaviour of someone who does not want something to be built or done near where they live, although it does need to be built or done somewhere.”

Like building affordable housing—just imagine the undesireables it would attract!

Luckily, some spiritual leaders see things differently and happen to control a critical asset: land.

Churches are among the largest landowners in the country, and the movement to leverage that land is known as YIGBY: Yes in God’s Back Yard!

The problem?

Building affordable housing is fraught with obstacles that churches are ill equipped to handle, like a lack of experience working with developers and complex regulations. Still, there have been successes.

I’m heartened by the idea of letting faith communities with projects meeting certain criteria—like 150 units or fewer—to build affordable housing “by right,” which means it would be permitted in a zoning district, thereby freeing it from burdensome review.

I’ll be sure to return to this as I learn more.

Dr. Mary-Elizabeth Harmon is a scientist turned storyteller and Founding Mother of Chard & Stripes, a “school” of prosperity making and word-of-mouth marketing platform for kind people, products and businesses in food, fashion & more. Subscribe to her newsletter here.