Image by Nick Youngson licensed under Creative Commons.

The YIMBY (Yes In My Backyard) movement is increasingly gaining national attention, now with over 100 chapters around the world claiming the title and counting. We want to help stimulate some YIMBY organizing in the Washington region, but we need your help.

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Continuing a YIMBY tradition

Greater Greater Washington has been writing about and advocating for development issues in this region for nearly a decade. Many of us have taken what we talk about on the blog into our neighborhoods, some have even run for local office to keep pushing for these ideas.

After going to this year’s YIMBY conference in Oakland, CA, we realized that we could be doing an even better job of coordinating and organizing our community’s efforts when it comes to engaging in neighborhood-level development and transit decisions. So many YIMBY groups that came to this year’s conference started as just a group of disenchanted, urbanist-minded neighbors who were tired of parochial, even exclusionary voices always winning the day at the local zoning hearing.

So they got together, and they organized to make their voices heard.

What would that look like here in our neighborhoods? Every month, there are dozens of decisions being made about how neighborhoods will or won’t adapt to the change our region is experiencing. We’d like to help organize more readers and supporters of this blog to show up for these issues.

So what will GGWash YIMBY about?

GGWash has already created a powerful digital space to discuss and organize for a greater Washington region. We want to more intentionally translate our online power, offline, helping people get involved in decisions that shape their neighborhoods. Although this organizing effort will take place in real life, we’ll cover the issues these groups take on, amplifying their work on the blog.

This effort will look different in different neighborhoods, but here are some basics:

  • We’re organizing for inclusive, diverse, growing, and walkable urban neighborhoods.
  • When advocating for the needs of the neighborhood, we’ll take into account the needs of the entire city and region. We reject stances that pass the buck to another neighborhood or town.
  • We’ll center this effort on housing. The region is adding thousands of new residents each month. Being an inclusive neighborhood means actively creating homes for new neighbors.
  • But we won’t exclusively organize about housing. Housing is obviously a central issue, but it is not the only thing that matters to an inclusive, walkable, and growing urban place.
  • Our neighborhoods need better transit, better access to services, better infrastructure, better public and natural spaces, and better looking buildings. We’ll aim for all of these things, but again we'll center regional needs over parochial ones.

Connect with YIMBY issues in your neighborhood

What neighborhood issues have piqued your interested (or irritation)? What’s something you wish more neighbors would show up for?

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David Whitehead was the Housing Program Organizer at Greater Greater Washington from 2016 to 2019.  A former high school math teacher and a community organizer, David worked to broaden and deepen Greater Greater Washington’s efforts to make the region more livable and inclusive through education, advocacy, and organizing. He lives in Eckington.