Monday, May 17, 2010

Back to Nimbyism, Part I

Once again I’ve been thinking about Nimbyism (Not In My Backyard). Take the opposition to EVERgreen Residences, a proposed project to be located at 3800 Willow, near Exposition Park in Dallas. The neighborhood spoke out against this particular project:

This type of residential housing, we don't oppose," said Ken Maxwell of Exposition Park Association to the near-capacity crowd of approximately 175 people gathered in the Central Library auditorium. "We actually want this kind of housing, and think it should be a part of Dallas.

"However, this is not the neighborhood for that kind of housing," he continued. "Across the street from a gallery? Next door to 500X? Adjacent to the Santa Fe Trail? This is not where you put this type of housing."

Quoted in Unfair Park:

There is a long discussion (69 Comments!) about this project at the link above that I got somewhat involved in. Here’s part of my comment:

If I hear one more person say I support this kind of project but it doesn't belong in my neighborhood because (we're too rich; we're too poor; we don't have any homeless people; we already have too many homeless people; etc.) I will vomit.

Man up and just say you don't care what happens to these people so long as they aren't allowed in your neighborhood. I can respect honesty.

I thought about this discussion recently when I read the following statement by a former resident of the Robert Taylor Homes, a massive former housing project in Chicago:

“They didn’t care about these people when they were in the buildings,” he said. “They don’t care about ‘em now.”

I think we need to start with what is true and try to work out a solution from there. It sounds a lot nicer to say that you support permanent supportive housing in principal and then offer some rationalizations as to why your particular neighborhood just happens to be the wrong one in which to build it, but I don’t believe it. Most of us just don’t care very much about the down and out. That’s especially true when it might inconvenience us in any small way.

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