“A new Bay Area survey has found that while many of the region’s voters support building more housing, an enduring preference for local control over the process persists.” writes Dean Boerner for Bisnow.
Not in my backyard is an expression used to describe those who oppose development in their own communities when they perceive that development as decreasing their own property values … but which they might support if it were built further away! NIMBYism has been blamed by many housing experts for California’s housing crisis.
Yes, in my backyard is a pro-development movement which has grown in opposition to the NIMBY phenomenon and supports increasing the supply of housing — through rezoning for higher density and repurposing of abandoned buildings where building new housing has become wildly unaffordable. YIMBYs often support clean energy or alternative transport projects as well.
In order to understand people’s collective thoughts about the housing crisis and how to solve it, the YIMBY INDEX was recently commissioned and compiled by FSB Public Affairs and Core Decision Analytics (CODA). In August 2020, 800 respondents across nine counties in the Bay Area answered survey questions on the housing crisis. Included were questions about the severity of the housing crisis, the impacts and challenges to housing affordability and availability, the impact of various types of housing projects like high-density or transit-oriented housing, the impacts of traffic and walkability, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and teleworking on housing costs, and housing policy proposals at both the local and state level. Some of the questions were split-sampled, seeking answers both about local neighborhoods and the State of California.
The overall results of the survey are positive showing that, due to the housing crisis, people favor measures which encourage local development. The survey showed a higher-than-expected level of recognition of the state’s housing crisis and more positive than negative engagement in local development processes. Of the respondents, 49 percent see the necessity for more housing, 86 percent believe the cost of housing will continue to rise without an increase in supply, more than 80 percent believe there is a need for more high-density housing near transit, and 69 percent support expedited reviews for the construction of ADUs (accessory dwelling units). And, although 53 percent of voters are still in favor of local control, 21 percent say they are undecided.
“Voters assert they want new residential housing construction – not simply throughout the Bay Area overall, but also in their local communities,” says Adam Rosenblatt, President of Core Decision Analytics. “The economic fallout of COVID is leading many residents to shift from a NIMBY to a YIMBY mindset.”
Image courtesy of Dweller, Inc