By Natalie Rayment
You know acronyms have taken over the English language when the FBI releases a guide to its agents of the thousands of new acronyms and shortenings the internet has thrown up.
It’s hardly surprising though given the proliferation of acronyms in text messages, Instagram feeds and the comments section of news articles.
As one writer recently said, ‘journeying onto the internet can sometimes resemble an earthquake in a Scrabble factory, as vowels and consonants spill off the screen in all manner of unlikely conjunctions’.
I guess we should have seen the writing on the wall (or screen) however with one of the first online acronyms ‘WWW’ taking longer to say than what it stands for, ‘World Wide Web’.
It gets even more confusing when experts from the same industry start to invent their own acronyms to support an argument or ideal.
NIMBY, not in my back yard, has been around for years and we are all very aware of what it stands for and where it is used.
It’s a term used for anyone who opposes development of a certain project in their neighbourhood, whether that be a dump, a new temple, a quarry or a housing development.
To promote an alternative view and combat the constant negativity, various groups across the United States started the YIMBY movement, yes in my back yard.
Yet somehow YIMBY has been seen by some as the opposite of BANANA, which is the label given to the extreme environmental movement – Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anybody.
Unfortunately, rather than championing YIMBY and using it to promote good development with solid community benefit, some in the industry are getting lost in the acronym when we should instead be focusing on the message.
Since YIMBY came to Australia early in 2016 we have seen the emergence of terminology like QIMBY (Quality in my Back Yard), IOBY (In our Back Yard) and BIMBY (Beauty in my Back Yard) to name a few examples.
Regardless of what acronym you stand behind, our joint goal should be to seek out, encourage and celebrate developments that add benefit to our community.
Developments that make for better living. Whether that be financial benefit in terms of supply and affordability, design outcomes that improve our quality of life, innovations that move us forward, sustainability outcomes, or other community dividends like new parks, it shouldn’t really mater, all are valuable.
It’s time we realise we are all on the same side of the debate and start to work together to promote the ideals we all hold.
If we are to have any chance of changing the conversation and promoting good development outcomes, we need to work together.
We might all come from different areas, expertise and focuses, but we overlap on one important area – the YIMBY message.
Without a concerted, unified and consistent effort the anti-development minority will continue to scream from the rooftops and will be the only ones heard.