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Commentary By Reihan Salam

Why YIMBY Righteousness Backfires

Culture, Economics Finance, Culture & Society

Treating suburbanites as hateful snobs will not make them more welcoming of newcomers.

If it’s wrong to want to live in a bucolic neighborhood largely populated by people who can comfortably afford exorbitantly high housing prices, most Americans don’t want to be right.

That is the central challenge facing the YIMBY (“Yes in My Backyard”) movement, an ideologically diverse collection of scholars, policy makers, and grassroots activists committed to the disarmingly simple idea that building new homes in the nation’s most prosperous cities and towns would be a really good thing to do. As an intellectual project, YIMBYism has been wildly successful, and for good reason. The evidence that boosting housing supply to meet housing demand can foster economic growth and spur upward mobility is overwhelming. There is even tentative evidence to suggest that curbing local land-use regulation could help reverse the collapse of marriage among working-class families, which is no small thing. Among economists and legal scholars who work on local land use, the debate over zoning reform is essentially over.

Continue reading the entire piece here at The Atlantic (paywall)


Reihan Salam is the president of the Manhattan Institute. Follow him on Twitter here.

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