Skip to content

Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Welcome In My Back Yard

Read more articles by


Catherine Porter considers the power of Nimbyism in today’s Toronto Star.

It’s about time Toronto learned to love itself and the complexities of urban life. Change is good, diversity is good, neighbours are good.

For another perspective on neighbourhood protection versus the good of the larger community check out the WIMBY project from the Netherlands. WIMBY is a concept developed by the architectural historians Crimson as an alternative to Nimbyism. Here is an excerpt from their manifesto [flash]:

We believe that each town or city can become its own Utopia simply by saying Yes to every Excess. By not making it conform to a generally accepted idea of what makes a town good, but exaggerating all that makes this town this town. … So to every situation that would normally provoke reactions of Not In My Backyard! we say Welcome Into My Back Yard.

How to plan when there is no way to know how a town should be? Easy. You look around at all the ugly, beautiful, good, bad, big, small, light, heavy, things and find out that most of it is there accidentally, the result of too little or too much contradictory planning. And then you wave your magic wand and declare that all of it is worth your love.