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The Future Depends on a YIMBY Mindset.


Our Directors, Natalie Rayment and Andrew Crawford, recently attended The Property Council of Australia’s Inaugural Future Cities Summit in Sydney.

The event presented many important conversations about sustainable, smart and liveable cities, as industry leaders shared their thoughts and calls to action.  But one message that particularly stood out was the groundswell support of the YIMBY movement including the recognition that developing a YIMBY mindset is key to future proof Australian cities.  “Oh My Lord”, how glad were we to hear that!

“Oh My Lord” was one of the standout sessions, as the Lord Mayors of Sydney, Parramatta, Melbourne and Hobart came together to share the future challenges their cities face, everything from global warming to urban sprawl and social isolation, and the solutions and strategies needed in response. 

Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, highlighted that ‘good density’ is very much needed if we are to enjoy convenience, lifestyle and connection and avoid the social isolation, affordability challenges and environmental impacts exacerbated by urban sprawl.

“City Deals should deliver productivity rather than political wins, scooters could be either a disaster or a dream depending on where you lived, and density was never a dirty word.” –

Educating the community, increasing their trust factor and making sure that all three levels of government are working together were identified as some of the most obvious solutions to the current and future challenges facing Australian cities. 

The Lord Mayor of Hobart, Anna Reynolds, called for the ‘diversity of voices’ from within our industry and our community.

The Growing Pains.

Our planning system was identified by property industry leaders as one of the major barriers to future proofing our cities.  Unsurprisingly, red tape, planning restrictions and costly delays were all sited as significant challenges.

Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz from Mirvac emphasised the need for the YIMBY mindset and was supported by Mark Steiner from Stockland who said that the industry needs to build a Yes In My Backyard conversation to come out of the downturn.

The message was strong.

“Great cities are no accident” is a familiar phrase.  Yet, the notion of the “Great Australian dream” of a house on a large block still exists in many minds in our communities and drives reactionary planning and policy decisions.

Strong leadership is key! Someone has to take leadership at the political level.

It was great to hear again from Lucy Turnbull, who has been a supporter of the YIMBY principles from the start of the movement in Australia, championed by YIMBY Qld and it’s CEO Natalie Rayment.

Lucy Turnbull called for a flexible approach and a range of choices in relation to housing.

Collaboration, flexibility and trust!

“No one wakes up and thinks I want more density,” said Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz.  “But they might say they want a library, a swimming pool or other amenity that only arrives with more people. But each community’s definition of ’good amenity‘ differs.”

Working together, not just with key industry participants, and government bodies, but with our community members, is the message YIMBY Qld emphasised from the beginning.

YIMBY (Yes In My Backyard Queensland) was created in 2016 to balance the community conversation about planning and development in our State. It is unashamedly a counter to the anti-development NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard) sentiment which dominates the urban development debate, despite the demand for housing and jobs and the associated community benefits of good development. With it, YIMBY Qld brought the international YIMBY movement to Australia. By mid-2017, YIMBY Qld was registered as an independent, not-for-profit organisation, with a core team surrounded by dedicated volunteers and supporters. YIMBY Qld has been instrumental in sharing, recognising and promoting the YIMBY mindset in Australia and forming a National YIMBY movement, with YIMBY Vic, Perth YIMBY and YIMBY Sydney all up and running.

At the Summit, Infrastructure Australia’s new CEO, Romilly Madew AO, called for a “whole new level of community engagement.” 

We agree that with greater collaboration (and engagement) will come greater education within the community, which will translate into greater flexibility and trust.  But let’s come back to Anna Reynolds’ point about the ‘diversity of voices’ first.

Many of our community members are part of the conversation and decision making already.  But so many more are not.  And we are definitely far from the healthy ‘diversity of voices’ – which is very ineffective if “each community’s definition of [good development] differs! We need to encourage ourselves and others to join in this important conversation.

Be a successful leader!

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” —Stephen R. Covey

One of the most common traits of successful leaders in our society is their ability to listen with the intent to understand, not listen with the intent to reply. 

This makes us think that a NIMBY mindset is very much the one of “listen with the intent to reply”, that is with a ‘NO’ of course.  Therefore, it is a YIMBY mindset that is so critical right now. Without it, we would have to rely on an accident or a miracle to deliver great, healthy and liveable cities.

A YIMBY mindset is the mindset of the future!