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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

YIMBY returns

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Cross-posted from Eye Daily.

After last year’s success, the YIMBY festival is returning to the Gladstone Hotel October 27. For those who may be out of the loop, YIMBY stands for Yes In My Backyard, and is a term that has been used by neighbourhood groups who are frustrated with being painted as naysayers when it comes to neighbourhood change. Though the media doesn’t always show it (tension and battles seem to make better stories people working together for positive change), many community organizations are full of good ideas for how to improve their ‘hood and are willing to work with others, even those with different ideas, to make things happen. But it’s not always easy. In many areas of the city, it’s difficult to keep up with the number of development projects that are being proposed. Dealing with bureaucracy can be a bitch, and local councillors aren’t always available to provide insight, advice and support.

A good way to overcome these hurdles is to share knowledge and experience and the YIMBY festival is a forum for that to happen. Last year, 42 different community associations participated in the festival. Each had a table where they could distribute flyers, set up a display about their group and speak to people who were interested in learning more about what they do and how they do it. Groups ranged from your average residents’ association to community centres to environmental groups that work in a variety of neighbourhoods throughout the city. Attendees included average Torontonians interested in finding out more about local issues and those looking for avenues to become more involved as well as Mayor David Miller, councillors and provincial and federal politicians.

Groups interested in participating should visit the YIMBY website for information on how to get involved. The deadline to register is October 16.

“Neighbourhood Associations and groups have the power and the knowledge,” says the website. “Let’s network and see what we can do!”

Photo from YIMBY festival 2006.

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