Nimby Assessment

Diffusing NIMBY Sentiment

Whether community members are for or against a particular project, they are stakeholders in the development process. Diffusing NIMBY sentiment during the early stages of a project can not only prevent serious difficulties down the road, but may also help create allies for the project within the community. Strategies for diffusing NIMBY sentiment include:

  • Promoting volunteerism within existing supportive housing efforts to build a network of supporters for new projects;

    Example: If an organization involves volunteers in serving people who are homeless, the myths and fears about the people served by supportive housing break down. The best advocates for a project can be volunteers who get to know people who could benefit from supportive housing. See the managing community concerns case study for more information.

  • Developing and distributing clear and accurate information on the development that responds to community concerns at public hearings, through the press, and by other means.

    Example: Giving a presentation about the effect (or lack of effect) of supportive housing on nearby home values at a homeowner's association meeting may dispel myths and fears that might be circulating among prospective neighbors.

  • Engaging community leaders, state and local government officials, and other service providers in discussions of the value of supportive housing and its place within the community.

    Example: Supportive housing developers could meet with zoning officials to educate them about the need for supportive housing and to respond to concerns they may have about the project's impact.

  • Developing plans for well-designed buildings that blend into the surrounding neighborhood.

    Example: Supportive housing developers could choose plans that resemble other homes in the vicinity, avoiding features that might appear out of place in a residential setting.

  • Engaging "neighborhood advisory councils" to provide community feedback on plans for new development.

    Example: Presenting the plans for development at a neighborhood meeting and recording neighbors' opinions on location and design might make them more amenable to the development. See The Challenge and Opportunity of NIMBY for more information.

The case studies found in this training provide more detail on these and other methods of diffusing NIMBY sentiment.