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

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

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.

Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

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