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Friday, August 06, 2004

The Nimbys

English passions for long muddy walks and gardening amaze foreigners. One explanation is that the countryside is a scarce commodity and set to become even more so with all the planning development in progress. Plans for whole stand-alone towns like Stevenage and Milton Keynes are underway.

Nimbys is a word that exists only in English. It stands for Not In My Back Yard and describes the hostility to rural development.

Legend has it that under the hills around Winchester, England's ancient capital lies a sleeping dragon. Only when the tribes of Britain gather once again upon it's head at Twyford Down would the dragon awake to protect the land and banish tyranny from the shores.

Some think the dragon has been woken as Protestors take up the cause to keep England a green and pleasant land. Market forces are once again at work to place a value on either development or conservation. Each side would have to show the loss by going ahead or not with rural developments.

See the comments on origin and use of the word NIMBY.
Meanwhile here's a very humorous strip on NIMBYs.

12 Comments:

Blogger Tom P. said...

NIMBY is commonly used in the US also. But it isn't always about rural development. For example, our local power company wants to build a gas burning plant in an abandoned industrial zone but none of the people living around it want the plant built there. Another example is an abandoned factory that is sitting on a toxic waste site. A developer wants to tear down the factory, remove the waste, and build a shopping mall on the site. The neighbors don't want the noise or traffic and want the town to buy the property and build a park. Personally, I don't think I would take my kids to either a mall or a playground built on a toxic waste site.

7:24 pm  
Blogger Helen said...

Very true, Thomas.
The earliest citation of Nimby is from America :
NIMBY — "not in my backyard."
—Emilie Travel Livezey, "Hazardous waste," The Christian Science Monitor, November 6, 1980

Besides, "yard" is getting less and less in common use here in the UK. Terrace and patio are replacing courtyard. Schoolyard,churchyard,farmyard are almost redundant but are possibly still in use in young children's story books.

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