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NIMBYism is Built Into Cities, But Can Be Changed by People

Building empathy is the answer to exclusion, says Sociologist Nathanael Lauster

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Reporter by Perrin Grauer

Vocal opposition to changing neighbourhoods from many Vancouver residents comes as no surprise to Nathanael Lauster, associate professor with the department of sociology at UBC.

Lauster, author of The Death and Life of the Single Family House: Lessons from Vancouver on Building a Livable City, writes about how exclusion of particular people is built in to cities, and how this affects the attitudes of residents who live in those cities, particularly their attitudes towards change.

This is the phenomenon many people refer to as “NIMBYism,” or, “Not In My Back Yard.” It’s an idea that describes how communities often express their support for changes that might help others who are disadvantaged, but resist those changes when they appear to be headed to their own neighbourhoods.

The Voice spoke with Lauster for our podcast on the roots of NIMBYism. Have a listen.

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