Study: The Demographics of the Public Comment NIMBY

A new study reveals the biases of the public planning process.
August 31, 2018, 9am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Tim Logan shares news of a new study from researchers at Boston University that analyzed "three years worth of meeting minutes from 97 cities and towns in the region, and found nearly two-thirds of residents who stood up to speak about proposed housing developments."

"The study also dug into who the commenters are, using a variety of public records to estimate age, voting history, and other factors, such as whether people own or rent their home," according to Logan.

That description of the study's methodology admittedly buries the lede on the finding of the study: People who speak at city council meetings on the subject of new development overwhelmingly oppose development. They also tend to be older, more affluent, white homeowners.

Katherine Levine Einstein, a BU political science professor and one of the study’s authors, is quoted in the article describing the disparities between the population that shows up for city council meetings: "These are crazy disparities….Far worse than disparities in voting demographics. Far worse than representation in Congress."

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Published on Friday, August 31, 2018 in The Boston Globe
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