Noisy NIMBYS

Principal Consultant , David Allison Inc.
  • Mar. 13, 2011

I recently stumbled across this research from a UK group that researches Nimbys in Canada (as well as the USA and UK). The last study they did in Canada was in 2008, but I still found the results very intriguing. Here are the top-level findings for the Canadian Nimby population (I wonder if the economic events of 2008 – 2011 will have changed any of these findings significantly?)

Saint Index© Canada 2008—Top-Line Results

Not In My Back Yard attitude rules
The survey also found that 75 percent of Canadians say their communities are “fine the way they are” or are already overdeveloped (which was the same in 2007), while only 24 percent say they are underdeveloped.

Casinos are the most unwanted local land use

Canadians continue to oppose casino development, as 83 percent of respondents cited opposition (which was the same in 2007). Similarly, three out of four respondents continue to oppose a nuclear power plant or a landfill. More interesting, opposition to a local Wal-Mart increased 9 percent over the last year, and now stands at 63 percent.

Reasons Against Real Estate Development
Additionally, the survey found that one-in-six Canadians or a family member have actively opposed a real estate development project (17 percent) in their lifetime. The main reasons cited were to protect green space (24 percent) and to protect against “too much traffic” (14 percent).

Support for Development

Only 13 percent of respondents or a family member has supported a development. Of those who supported a development, reasons for support include community improvement (33 percent), job creation (20 percent), and a need for housing (11 percent). What kind of developments do people want? A quarter of Canadians say “none,” 15 percent say a recreation facility, 13 percent say single-family housing and nine percent say parks/green space.

NIMBYs and Housing

The NIMBY phenomenon is clearly illustrated when it comes to housing, as single-family homes are the most supported type of local development (87 percent), while apartments/condos obtained 64 percent support. But housing is the very type of development targeted by most Canadians who have actively fought a project, the Saint Index reveals. Housing projects accounted for 32 percent of the projects opposed.

Issues With Development Laws
Over a quarter (26 percent) of Canadians say development laws in Canada are not strict enough, while over half (52 percent) say they are just right. Only 13 percent say they are say too strict.

Governmental Concerns

Canadians are still cynical about the relationships between local officials and developers, as over half (55 percent) say that the relationships make the process unfair, compared to 60 percent in 2007. Over four-fifths (82 percent, compared to 87 percent in 2007) say a candidate’s position on new development and growth is important when they consider for whom to vote.

I’ve removed a few top-line results that have nothing to do with the real estate industry, just FYI. And if you want to know more you can visit The Saint Consulting Group, who conducts these studies, on their website at tscg.biz.


David Allison works with executive teams in real estate development and other industries to craft the early-stage vision and brand for projects of all kinds. He crystallizes the most interesting…

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David Allison works with executive teams in real estate development and other industries to craft the early-stage vision and brand for projects of all kinds. He crystallizes the most interesting…

Read more





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