Anti-Developer Sentiment Drives Anti-Development Sentiment

Survey: Anti-Developer Sentiment Drives Anti-Development Sentiment

New research from Paavo Monkeonen and Michael Manville at the University of California, Los Angeles shed light on the nature of community opposition to proposed developments. That kind of insight is valuable to anyone who tasked with listening and responding to the concerns of members of the public, like planners, or have a critical project to deliver through the approvals process, like planners.

"Their findings complicate simple stories of NIMBYism, often emphasizing the negative externalities of new housing. When residents oppose new housing because they believe it will congest their streets, they are acting in their own self-interest: working to prevent their own loss. When residents oppose new development because a developer might earn a large profit, they are opposing someone else’s gain. This action suggests a separate dimension of NIMBYism, centered less on risk aversion and more on enforcing community norms of fairness. The power of these norms, furthermore, might help explain the popularity of regulations like linkage fees, exactions or inclusionary zoning ordinances. These policies are increasingly common, but estimates of their efficacy are at best mixed. These programs impose certain costs on developers, but deliver uncertain benefits to their intended targets. If residents derive satisfaction from seeing developers punished, however, the persistence of these programs in the face of ambiguous evidence about their efficacy becomes less mysterious."