What’s a ‘NIMBY’? What about ‘YIMBYs’? Charlotte development debates, explained

By Mary Ramsey, The Charlotte Observer


An intense real estate market coupled with rising rents has raised concerns about the housing situation in Charlotte, with many calling for more housing to be built, including workforce and affordable options.

But not everyone is always in favor of new development, leading to debates within communities where folks who are opposed to a project are often dubbed “NIMBYs.” The acronym has been around for decades, but it’s become especially common to see it used in online debates.

And those who support new developments are even referred to sometimes as “YIMBYs.”

Here’s what to know about “NIMBYs,” “YIMBYs” and the impacts they have on Charlotte.


NIMBY stands for “Not in my backyard” and is used to refer to people who oppose new development in their neighborhood.

The phrase was coined in the 1970s, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, and has become a common term to see used in online debates over developments, especially those that include affordable or workforce housing and other support services.

Critics say NIMBYs aim to block projects that would provide housing and other resources to people who need them. Those who oppose developments often argue they have concerns about environmental impacts, the preservation of the culture of their neighborhood and want to keep control of what happens in their communities in local hands.


Charlotte has not been immune to the debate of “NIMBYism” and how development projects should be executed.

The city has considered in recent years, WFAE reported, changes to housing rules that would limit the impacts of pushback from NIMBYs on potential projects.

There have even been recent cases of industries in the Charlotte area expressing concern about encroaching residents, The Charlotte Observer reported previously.


YIMBY stands for “Yes in my backyard” and is a response to NIMBYism aimed at supporting the construction of more housing and development.

But there’s also criticism of “YIMBYism,” with some arguing YIMBYs support developments that contribute to gentrification and don’t focus enough on ensuring that the housing they support is affordable.

This story was originally published June 30, 2022 1:46 PM.

Read more at The Charlotte Observer

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