How 'Not in My Backyard' Became 'Not in My Neighborhood'

How 'Not in My Backyard' Became 'Not in My Neighborhood', Emily Badger, NY Times, Jan. 3, 2018, available here

In Seattle, the neighbors don’t want apartments for formerly homeless seniors nearby. In Los Angeles, they don’t want more high-rises. In San Jose, Calif., they don’t want tiny homes. In Phoenix, they don’t want design that’s not midcentury modern.

Homeowners in each of these places share a common conviction: that owning a parcel of land gives them a right to shape the world beyond its boundaries.

The roots of this idea are as old as nuisance laws that have tried to limit how one property owner can harm another. Over the decades, though, homeowners have expanded their claim on the world beyond their lot lines. This means they look out for schools and streets in ways that are vital to American communities. But increasingly it also means the senior affordable housing, the high-rises and the tiny homes — also arguably vital to the larger community — are never built.

  • Open Communities Alliance
  • 75 Charter Oak Avenue
  • Suite 1-210
  • Hartford, CT 06106
  • Phone: 860-610-6040