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Old Posted Sep 15, 2018, 7:41 PM
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NIMBYs Really Hate Developers When They Turn A Profit

NIMBYs Really Hate Developers When They Turn A Profit


SEP 14, 2018

By SARAH HOLDER

Read More: https://www.citylab.com/equity/2018/...ousing/570169/

Study: http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/Documen.../2018-04WP.pdf

Quote:
NIMBYs—foes of new development, especially the kind that’s located near their backyards—are often described as risk averse. Building more housing in their neighborhoods, they worry, could lead to more traffic, lower property values, strained services, lost parking places, lower and/or higher rents, and all manner of undesirable changes to “neighborhood character.”

- But, according to a study out of UCLA, their resistance to development might have another, more straightforward explanation: They hate developers. More specifically, they don’t like to see developers make a buck from their efforts. Based on a survey of 1,300 L.A. county residents, researchers Paavo Monkkonen and Michael Manville found that residents were 20 percent more likely to be anti-development when they see that developers will turn a nice profit. --- In other words, NIMBYs might be driven to oppose building more housing not by “fear of their own losses, but resentment of others’ gains.” This, the authors write, “suggests a separate dimension of NIMBYism, centered less on risk aversion and more on enforcing community norms of fairness.”

- The evil-developer trope seems to be baked into the culture. Movies like It’s a Wonderful Life frame builders as bulldozing antagonists; Donald Trump epitomized the brand in his real-estate career and now, the presidency. “The word ‘developer is frequently preceded by adjectives like ‘greedy’ or ‘rapacious,” reads the study, and they’re often “framed as adversaries rather than partners.” --- And developer-hating isn’t just a contemporary expression of late-capitalist critique: Senators in Ancient Rome were complaining about density, and blaming developers for it. The study also posits that the perceptions of developers as money-grubbing villains are made worse in supply-constrained, pricey, and tightly-regulated housing markets.

- When city policies and zoning regulations make development more difficult, the developers who prosper are more likely to be the richest, nastiest, and most aggressive. “Our system of land use regulations and permitting process—the complexity of it—has selected for people that can navigate that,” said Monkkonen. --- “They tend to be good at bending the rules and breaking the rules, or wealthy. We’ve created a system that selects for people who are more cutthroat.” Cities are thus confronted with a paradox: Deregulating land use would allow developers unfettered access to space, letting them potentially wreak havoc on neighborhoods. But enacting policies that make development difficult only encourage more “evil” developers, which in turn makes developers seem more evil.

- The result could be a self-fulfilling process that fulfills people’s worst expectations: communities suspicious of development clamp down on it, partly because they believe developers are rich and confrontational, and by clamping down they increase the probability that developers will be rich and confrontational. --- This effect is particularly pronounced in markets where housing is out of reach for many of the area’s poorest residents—as in the Bay Area. Here, profiting off a project seems “morally inappropriate,” the study states, even if the end result is more affordable housing. This creates what Monkkonen and others call a “repugnant market.” These preconceived notions appear to have contributed to respondents’ negative attitudes towards the YIMBY dream of building more housing.

- There are some takeaways here for cities that want to encourage more affordable housing development. The solution, luckily, does not involve attempting to reverse the reputation of developers, as they are probably beyond redemption, brand-wise. But it could end up being the same proposals that YIMBYs put forth to achieve their pro-housing goals that could also help developers’ images. --- Monkkonen points to “re-regulation” as a start: removing some of the exclusionary zoning policies that even Ben Carson condemns and allowing more multi-family housing units to emerge in places like L.A. and San Francisco, where housing is expensive and supply isn’t growing fast enough to meet demand. Make less-expensive housing legal and more developers will build it, the argument goes—and not just the fat-cigar developers people know and loathe.

- If it gets easier to build three- or four-story condo buildings, mom-and-pop developers could find it more feasible to enter the housing market. And everyone loves moms and pops. Another—albeit less plausibly achieved—boost to the developers’ reps would be to continue to encourage public housing development, especially in cities like L.A., where it’s increasingly uncommon. The history of public housing in the U.S. is fraught, but creating a new generation of well-built and maintained public housing “could potentially create a positive image of developers as public servants.” --- “Virtually everyone lives in a home built by a self-interested developer,” the study concludes. “Blocking the product to punish the producer has a visible short-term consequence that might look progressive (assuming the developer is in fact rich) but a less-visible long-term consequence that lands on vulnerable people everywhere.”

.....



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  #2  
Old Posted Sep 16, 2018, 12:54 AM
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Here in NIMBY central -- the unspoken fear is INCREASE in property value - which leads to an increase in taxes.
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Old Posted Sep 16, 2018, 2:23 PM
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I think America in general has gone off message as the free market Republic it was founded as.

Truth is, everybody wants to earn money for what they do. If I ask to be paid for what I do, it’s sensible. If you do, you’re greedy.

At the end of the day, most developers are doing this as a full time job and are taking risks your average person will never understand. They don’t have 9-5 jobs with pay stubs and benefits. This is their livelihood. It’s kind of petty and mean spirited for anyone to think that they don’t deserve to make money from what they do.
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Old Posted Sep 16, 2018, 2:57 PM
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the nimby umbrella is wide. lets examine a few examples.

hatred of the poor nimby. "don't build your homeless shelter near me"

hatred of the noveau riche. "don't build your zero lot line mega home next to me"

hatred of those not like themselves. "don't move to my neighborhood person not of my culture"

hatred of renters or those without ownership tenure. "dont build that apartment near me"

hatred of multifamily owners "townhouses....gah!!!"

nimby's can be poor renter too. "trader joes!!! ahhhh. stay out yuppies"

its pretty much anybody afraid of change.
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Last edited by pdxtex; Sep 16, 2018 at 4:01 PM.
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Old Posted Sep 16, 2018, 5:29 PM
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Some NIMBYs do have a point though. Growth is good, but it should be managed right.

When you have cities / counties rubber stamping developments without making meaningful improvements to the infrastructure to support those developments, that is a problem. It's an increasing issue in my suburban county, where the roads are still only built to handle rural traffic volumes and they back up severely during peak traffic times, yet more and more mega projects continue to break ground with very little infrastructure contributions from the developers.

Also, when you have cities / counties rubber stamping developments without concern about the quality of said developments (I.E. a bunch of poorly built track homes, a bunch of fast food restaurants, a bunch of warehouses, etc.), again, I completely empathize with the NIMBYs. For example, warehouse workers tend to have much less buying power because the jobs are low wage, which then scares away more higher-end commercial establishments and higher-end homebuilders. The goal should be to attract a healthy balance of job types (both corporate / higher-paying types and blue-collar / lower-paying types).
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Old Posted Sep 16, 2018, 5:33 PM
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@pdxtex: seconded.

Needless to say, almost everybody will understand a NIMBY attitude when it's about preserving some valuable heritage.
You can sometimes fairly explain it in countries like mine, Spain, Italy, some remains of the UK and Germany...
For example, I noticed the UNESCO-type of NIMBYism was usually legitimate. But these are experts of original heritage concerned about what would be left to the next generations.
They serve a noble cause of theirs, so you got to deal with them.

Any other kind of NIMBYism is downright full of sh*t and must be discredited before the public opinion, on behalf of development and improvement.
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Old Posted Sep 16, 2018, 5:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skyscraperpage17 View Post
Some NIMBYs do have a point though. Growth is good, but it should be managed right.

When you have cities / counties rubber stamping developments without making meaningful improvements to the infrastructure to support those developments, that is a problem. It's an increasing issue in my suburban county, where the roads are still only built to handle rural traffic volumes and they back up severely during peak traffic times, yet more and more mega projects continue to break ground with very little infrastructure contributions from the developers.

Also, when you have cities / counties rubber stamping developments without concern about the quality of said developments (I.E. a bunch of poorly built track homes, a bunch of fast food restaurants, a bunch of warehouses, etc.), again, I completely empathize with the NIMBYs. For example, warehouse workers tend to have much less buying power because the jobs are low wage, which then scares away more higher-end commercial establishments and higher-end homebuilders. The goal should be to attract a healthy balance of job types (both corporate / higher-paying types and blue-collar / lower-paying types).
Well, the situation that you described (the burbs) is where NIMBYism essentially started. The burbs were meant to be low density, quiet, exclusive, etc. New development threatens that, especially with the limited infrastructure to serve its needs.

The problem is when those attitudes come into the city. In Chicago where a good number of city dwellers are former suburbanites, it’s almost as if they need to be “schooled” on urban living. You don’t always need a car, we have mass transit, density isn’t always bad, and a fully built out urban environment is actually attractive and pleasant as opposed to one interrupted by parking lots and gas stations.

I think these ideas are taking hold, and people are warming up to density and TOD. But there will always be some NIMBYism.

But getting back to the thread’s topic, it seems silly and unfair to spite a development just because the developer will turn a profit. I mean, for the most part city building has been a for-profit venture for centuries.
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Old Posted Sep 16, 2018, 5:58 PM
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If it’s a cultural distaste for developers, why is it more pronounced among homeowners? There is evidence that homeownership is the primary predictor of opposition to development.

I think fundamentally it is risk aversion from homeowners that is the root cause of NIMBYism. Cultural attitudes can often follow economic interests.

I totally agree though that excessive regulation ironically breeds “bad” developers. And if NIMBYs really are motivated out of a desire to reduce developer profits, then a heavily-regulated industry where political influence plays a major role could actually lead to higher average developer profits. In a laissez-faire housing market developers would quickly compete away profits; but in a clout-based market connected or lucky developers will often experience windfall profits through economic rents.
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Old Posted Sep 16, 2018, 8:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khantilever View Post
If it’s a cultural distaste for developers, why is it more pronounced among homeowners? There is evidence that homeownership is the primary predictor of opposition to development...
Funny you should mention that, City Lab studied this and found, "White, older men who own homes will make up the majority of the audience at any public meeting on housing or zoning..."

Basically boils down to, f you I got mine.
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Old Posted Sep 16, 2018, 8:35 PM
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Originally Posted by M II A II R II K View Post
[SIZE="5"]If it gets easier to build three- or four-story condo buildings, mom-and-pop developers could find it more feasible to enter the housing market. And everyone loves moms and pops.
That's actually not true, at least in San Francisco. Here we have a whole genre of multifamily construction (hardly any single family is being built by anyone) called the "Richmond Special" which is synonymous for low end midrise apartments built by a group of Irish-American families of builders who grew up together in the city's Richmond District and initially focused their attention there but more recently built infill all over town. To a fair number of folks the term is an epithet.
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Old Posted Sep 17, 2018, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by yankeesfan1000 View Post
Funny you should mention that, City Lab studied this and found, "White, older men who own homes will make up the majority of the audience at any public meeting on housing or zoning..."

Basically boils down to, f you I got mine.
Ive watched city council meetings from all over, and it seems older white people(usually liberal) seem to be the main audience and members of almost all of the meetings ive seen. They have more time on their hands, of course, so it makes sense.
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Old Posted Sep 17, 2018, 1:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khantilever View Post
If it’s a cultural distaste for developers, why is it more pronounced among homeowners? There is evidence that homeownership is the primary predictor of opposition to development.

I think fundamentally it is risk aversion from homeowners that is the root cause of NIMBYism. Cultural attitudes can often follow economic interests.

I totally agree though that excessive regulation ironically breeds “bad” developers. And if NIMBYs really are motivated out of a desire to reduce developer profits, then a heavily-regulated industry where political influence plays a major role could actually lead to higher average developer profits. In a laissez-faire housing market developers would quickly compete away profits; but in a clout-based market connected or lucky developers will often experience windfall profits through economic rents.
I remember years back in college reading an urban studies book mostly about the decline of Detroit. But one chapter made the point that the government in part decided to promote homeownership in an effort to woo people away from socialist politics. That is to say, working-class Americans identified as workers first and foremost. But if they were homeowners, the thought was they would also identify as part of the ownership class, and have more skin in the game of capitalism.

The point being, in a certain sense homeowners are very small-time rentier capitalists. And despite what is often thought, the biggest threats to free markets in most of history have not been socialists, but those who accumulated wealth without much work (such as landowners) and want to stack the deck because a more open market would only add risk, which would imperil their economic standing.

Here in Pittsburgh, as an example, the neighborhood of Oakland has long been - residentially - largely a student slum. There are relatively few homeowners any longer except in a few enclaves. But while substantial new apartment construction is now taking place, there are certain projects that well-organized NIMBYs have defeated. These NIMBY groups are basically fronts for the slumlords who own large tracts of land in Oakland, because new development would result in the rent they could ask for decreasing, ultimately squeezing them out of the equation.
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Old Posted Sep 17, 2018, 3:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdxtex View Post
the nimby umbrella is wide. lets examine a few examples.

hatred of the poor nimby. "don't build your homeless shelter near me"

hatred of the noveau riche. "don't build your zero lot line mega home next to me"

hatred of those not like themselves. "don't move to my neighborhood person not of my culture"

hatred of renters or those without ownership tenure. "dont build that apartment near me"

hatred of multifamily owners "townhouses....gah!!!"

nimby's can be poor renter too. "trader joes!!! ahhhh. stay out yuppies"

its pretty much anybody afraid of change.
I think this is an expansion of the definition of NIMBYism...

Traditionally, NIMBYism was the objection to something that was considered hazardous or dangerous being put in one's own neighborhood, like a prison, or a hazardous materials facility, or a landfill, but being OK with it being put somewhere else. Myself having grown up in southern California, these were real issues that were being reported on the local news.

Being anti-multi-unit family housing and big development and stuff like that sounds more like "slow-growth" issues, which, again, back in the 1980s in SoCal, was also an issue among homeowners. I remember some of the people in Westwood/West LA forming a group called NYNY (Not Yet New York) who were anti-highrise.
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Old Posted Sep 17, 2018, 3:46 PM
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Originally Posted by sopas ej View Post
I think this is an expansion of the definition of NIMBYism...

Traditionally, NIMBYism was the objection to something that was considered hazardous or dangerous being put in one's own neighborhood, like a prison, or a hazardous materials facility, or a landfill, but being OK with it being put somewhere else. Myself having grown up in southern California, these were real issues that were being reported on the local news.
Not really - people don't want the unwashed masses eliminated, they just wish they would live elsewhere - out of side out of mind.

Or in some cases those who live happily among the unwashed masses don't want their neighbors booted, and their rent raised.
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