Warning: NIMBY’s Can Ruin Your Project

Understanding the cultural landscape that the project exists in also involves understanding the basic demographic information about the surrounding area and comprehending the attitudes of the population.

Why is it important to read the cultural landscape during the site inventory process?

During the site inventory, you can identify the existing cultural conditions and attitudes of surrounding community to determine if their will be resistance to your client’s project from existing residents.

Neighboring residents or businesses may be supportive of your client’s plan for the site or may foster hostile opinions (unfounded or otherwise) about any proposed changes or additional functions to the site.

A supportive community is a blessing and helps the design and construction process flow smoothly.

However, local residents and community groups can mobilize against a project and seriously hamper development.


When community groups oppose development projects, they are sometimes referred to as NIMBYs because they stand in opposition to clients developing their property.

NIMBY is an acronym that stands for “not in my back yard”.

There are many reasons why community groups may not share a favorable opinion of proposed development:

  • Increased traffic
  • Harm local businesses
  • Decrease property values
  • Pollute the land, air, or water
  • Light pollution
  • Noise pollution
  • Visual blight or project does not fit into the neighborhood context
  • Increase crime

It is best to understand the cultural landscape and public opinion attitudes prior to designing the project in order to address community concerns during the design process.

Related Articles:

  • Inventory Cultural Conditions

John is a landscape architect who is currently preparing to take the California Supplemental Exam to become licensed in California. He is currently a licensed professional landscape architect in Georgia and Florida. John graduated from California State University, Pomona with a BSLA degree in landscape architecture in 1997 and has extensive practice experience in residential and commercial landscape design.

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