Thursday, July 26, 2007

NIMBY's Corner

Our newest feature here at the 3-day old Hyde Park Progress Blog (HPPB) is "NIMBY's Corner." No, NIMBY is not the latest Saturday morning cross of a Jim Henson Muppet knock-off and an uber-cute Japanese animation character. NIMBY is an acronym that stands for "Not In My Backyard." NIMBYs generally espouse NIMBY-ism. In Hyde Park, NIMBYs are perhaps the broadest demographic group, transcending racial, class, religious, and occupational lines.

Each week, we will highlight a classic NIMBY issue, and examine how NIMBYs advance their own self-interest as higher principles, and personal conveniences as the Greater Good. As a population, this group is highly susceptible to DMMCS, a common suburban homeowner pathology known as Don't Move My Cheese Syndrome.

Common signs of NIMBY DMMCS are breaking into hives on hearing the word "density", erotic hallucinations at mention of the word "parking", and allergic reaction to public transportation and the possibility that people from OUTSIDE the neighborhood might want to come INSIDE the neighborhood. The most common sign, however, is the use of ad hoc and contradictory arguments against proposed high-rise or commercial development in the neighborhood.


Peter Rossi said...


Hyde Park has a pathetic retail environment and lack of development in sharp contrast to the rest of Chicago. This is due, in no small part, to self-appointed and self-righteous "activists" who oppose all development, no matter how sensible. They can only say "no" and prefer the status quo.

These same people pretend to defend the middle class and the working stiff. In fact, it is the elderly, students and the poor who are most hurt by the lack of quality stores with reasonable prices. The rest of us use Peapod and drive to Roosevelt Road or downtown.

High housing costs in Hyde Park stem from a lack of development of both rental and owner occupied housing.

But the real shame is that our elected representatives view the voices of the few who show up to "community meetings" or read the Hyde Park Herald mis-information as the voice of the community. No handful of people represent 42,000 residents. Our aldermen do. Other voices must be heard to give our alderman some voice of sanity to support reasonable development.

Lightningrodd said...

I've been living in Hyde Park for 3yrs now, and can see myself permanently settling here. I am shocked at how terrible the retail environment is here. I am amazed at how few restaurants there are here, no place to buy clothes, one shoe store, a whole bunch of dry cleaners and beauty/barber shops, and a lot of the business that are here can only exist because they are sheltered here and face no real competition. I do my shopping at the Jewel in the south loop or go to the Costco or Food 4 Less. It's a shame that i have to leave my neighborhood to buy groceries. My question is who causes is responsible? Is it the university, the alderman, some kind of planning commission? Who are the power brokers in Hyde Park? Clearly, the university has a lot of pull here.