Using British data, I argue that NIMBYism primarily arises from a desire to preserve the character of one’s area and existing ways of life, and to protect communities against rapid changes that could result from new housing developments. A wide range of characteristics that lead to these ‘place-protective’ motives, including conservativism and long-term residence in an area, strongly predict opposition to housebuilding. A conjoint experiment demonstrates that NIMBYism can be reduced by designing new developments in ways that preserve and protect existing communities, such as providing new public services alongside them. Doing so increases the coalition for housebuilding by raising the support of groups most opposed to housing, without lowering the support of others. This paper adds a comparative focus to the politics of NIMBYism, showing that outside the USA – characterised by an entrenched divide between homeowners and non-homeowners, fueled by price anxiety – NIMBYism can take a different form.
Friday 2 October
Mikael Persson will be the host for the meeting.