An Urban Plan Nearly Everyone Can Love: “Yes In Your Backyard”

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

I really and truly have nothing against former LA Times editor Bill Boyarsky, but I wonder if he really understands how his recent op-ed in the Times comes off. He starts by describing the leafy, bucolic neighborhood near UCLA that he moved into 40 years ago when such places were still affordable to middle-class families:

My neighborhood is exactly the kind of place urban planners think should be part of the solution. With an Expo Line station less than a mile away, it’s near transit….I would like to be part of the solution, but I’d also hate to see the quiet streets of my neighborhood suddenly sprouting four- and five-story apartment houses….One possible way forward is being championed by a new movement of Californians who call themselves YIMBYs (for Yes In My Backyard).

….Leading the YIMBY effort legislatively is Democratic state Sen. Scott Weiner, who represents San Francisco, a city hard hit by high housing costs. He has introduced a bill, SB50, that would require cities to incentivize construction of four- to five-story apartment houses within half a mile of transit train stations and within a quarter-mile of heavily used bus lines.

….Many of today’s neighborhoods zoned strictly for single-family homes are rooted in [our racist] past. It’s time for homeowners across the city to open them up, adding housing that will make all parts of the city more economically and ethnically diverse — and make the city work better for all its residents.

In short, Boyarsky lives a mile away from transit, so he supports a plan that would spur higher density construction only within half a mile of transit. Under this plan, his neighborhood will be untouched, while others will get exactly the kind of development he says he doesn’t want near him.

This isn’t YIMBY, it’s YIYBY—Yes In Your Backyard. In other words, it’s exactly what we have now. It hardly needs any help.

THE END...

of our fiscal year is Thursday, June 30, and we have a much larger fundraising gap than we can easily manage with only days left to go.

Right now is no time to come up short: If you value the hard-hitting, democracy-protecting, justice-advancing journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us keep charging as hard as we possibly can with a much-needed and much-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

THE END...

of our fiscal year is Thursday, June 30, and we have a much larger fundraising gap than we can easily manage with only days left to go.

Right now is no time to come up short: If you value the hard-hitting, democracy-protecting, justice-advancing journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us keep charging as hard as we possibly can with a much-needed and much-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate