Meet YIMBY: Pro-development groups join the battle in California housing wars



Jason Islas editor of the Santa Monica Next website and a housing advocate involved with Santa Monica Forward, one of a number of YIMBY (yes in my back yard) groups formed to support new affordable housing development.
Photo by Robert Casillas, Daily Breeze/SCNG


 It’s an ageless fight waged in board rooms, council chambers and auditoriums across the state.

Governing bodies take their seats on raised platforms as a parade of angry citizens lambast the latest homebuilding proposal, worried about traffic, schools, crime and property values.The developers, they say, are greedy bloodsuckers.

The residents, developers say, are NIMBYs — happy to see new shopping centers, apartment blocks and housing tracts, so long as they’re “not in my backyard.”

Now, there’s a new player in this well-worn battleground: YIMBYs.

These are pro-housing, mostly young urban dwellers willing to say “yes in my backyard” to residential development of all types, including subsidized housing for the poor and for-profit housing for the well-to-do.

YIMBY groups have been sprouting up in recent years in high-cost cities like New York, Boston and the San Francisco Bay Area. Supporters drew about 200 people from across the country, Canada and Great Britain to the second annual YIMBYtown conference held last July in Oakland.

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