A few weeks ago, I posted a list of 15 acronyms every urbanist should know. In the post, I asked readers to stay tuned for a special post on the various spin-offs of NIMBY—Not in my Backyard. Well, your wait is over.
NIMBY describes opposition by residents to a proposal for a new development close to them (i.e. in their backyard). Despite its ubiquity, the term is relatively new. It was first used on November 6, 1980 by British writer Emilie Travel Livezey, in “Hazardous waste,” an article for The Christian Science Monitor.
Originally NIMBY described people who battled disagreeable developments like sewage plants. In recent years, NIMBY has evolved to become a derisive term and includes anyone who battles any kind of development. As a result, people labeled as NIMBYs are often mischaracterized as being against any development. However, they often hold strong principles of community governance and participation in decisions that directly affect them. They believe that the interests of local residents should have a louder voice in development decisions to balance corporate developers and their (often out of state) investors.
Here are 25 variations of NIMBY:
NAMBI: Not Against My Business or Industry [A favorite of deep pocketed political donors]
NIMD: Not In My District [A favorite of politicians]
NIMEY: Not In My Election Year [Another favorite of politicians]
NIMFOS: Not In My Field of Sight
NIMFYE: Not In My Front Yard Either
NIMTOO: Not In My Term Of Office [Yet another favorite of politicians]
NITL: Not In This Lifetime
NOPE: Not On Planet Earth
NORF: No Observable Redeeming Features
NOT: None Of That
NOTE: Not Over There Either
GOOMBY: Get Out Of My Backyard [Common in new suburbs that encroach on industrial sites or airports]
GUMBY: Gaze Upon my Backyard [Opponents of residential walls and fences]
KIIMBY: Keep It In My Backyard [A positive variation]
NIABY: Not in Anyone’s Backyard
NIMN: Not in My Neigborhood
NUMBY: Not Under My Backyard
PIITBY: Put It In Their Backyard
QUIMBY: Quit Urbanizing In My Backyard [Popular in suburbia]
WIMBY: Welcome To My Backyard [Another positive variation]
YIMBY: Yes in My Backyard [One more positive variation]
The Final Four
BANANA: Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything
BANYs: Builders Against NIMBYs
GOAH: GedOudAHeah [Said in your best Jersey accent]
GOOMBA: Get Out of My Business Area [Another favorite of corporate donors]
As always, let me know in the comments section if I’ve missed any.
For an interesting discussion on how to respond to people with NIMBY, BANANA and related concerns, check out this insightful post from former City of Portland Bike Program manager, Mia Birk. (HT to Steve Vance)