Despite the need for development in corridors and emerging urban neighborhoods throughout a community, there is always some pushback from neighbors, called NIMBY-ism (Not In My Back Yard), when the development being proposed is in their neighborhood. Indeed, in one neighborhood meeting I attended while proposing a Core Development project, I heard the comment “I believe in density on the corridors; just not here.”

What many don’t understand is development – especially the kind that provides beautiful spaces and promotes healthy, active living – enhances your community, your backyard. The following are ways to help become informed and understand development:

  • Envision your “dream” community. If your community could look, be like anything, what would it be? What would it feature and how would it look? Cities that have desirable spaces and infrastructure required planning and development – those areas don’t happen organically. When individuals recognize that development is required in order to achieve beauty, it can be easier to support new initiatives and get more involved as a citizen.
  • Look at other cities. It can be difficult to sometimes understand and visualize the impact and end-result of different projects. Many might focus on the mess and inconvenience that can be a result of construction and development. To help embrace the “means to an end” approach that comes with development, it can be helpful to look at other communities that feature an end-result of similar projects. Often, cities borrow and adapt ideas from other metros as a template for what would work in their community. Understanding the end goal can be extremely helpful.
  • Get involved. I whole-heartedly believe that when you get involved you not only know more, you get more invested and can have your voice heard. It’s easy to chime in with an opinion regarding a proposed project with limited information, not knowing the reasons, vision and goals motivating development. The more you get involved, the more you’ll meet individuals close to the projects involved in your area. This will result in a more educated understanding of the “big picture,” and how your “backyard” is a part of that plan.
  • Look at impact. This goes hand-in-hand with becoming more involved in your community and the plans being made for it. When you get more involved, you become more aware of the inspiration and motives behind proposed development. Understanding the impact of a new green space, transportation initiative, or zoning decision will give context which can help in embracing said projects.

Ultimately, you want what is best for your city and community, because it will positively impact your quality of life. We as individuals are better together. Working together in partnership, respecting the diversity of opinions and backgrounds, and supporting nonprofits that do specific community work are important components in the creation of a healthy city. Recognizing this will help us accept change and evolution everywhere including our backyard.