YIMBYs Go Mainstream in New York

YIMBY, pro-development, politics are gaining support and attention in New York City at an opportune moment in the city's planning history.

January 14, 2021, 5:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

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Giuliano Del Moretto / Shutterstock

According to an article by Orion Jones, the pro-development messages of New York City's only Yes In My Backyard (YIMBY) group, Open New York, has begun to resonate.

Where public meetings used to respond to the YIMBY message with hostility, Open New York is professionalizing and winning support, according to Jones, even among the ranks of the city's politicians.

The growing influence of Open New York is timed for a watershed moment in New York City planning history, as the last of a series of rezoning processes spurred by the de Blasio administration targets the relatively wealthy neighborhoods of NoHo and SoHo in Manhattan and Gowanus in Brooklyn—the types of neighborhoods that tend to oppose new development or density and the types of neighborhoods that are most frequently the target of YIMBY political and legal action.

According to Jones, the leaders of Open New York forged their pro-development politics while struggling with the housing market in New York City, "where rent has grown four times faster than income and there are two low-income households for every one dwelling they can afford." Implied, but not stated, in the source article is the idea that YIMBYs will continue to swell in numbers and influence until expensive cities solve their affordability problems.

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