''We're not NIMBYs!'' Contrasting local protest groups with idealised conceptions of sustainable communities
McClymont, K. and O''Hare, P. (2008) ''We're not NIMBYs!'' Contrasting local protest groups with idealised conceptions of sustainable communities. Local Environment - The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability, 13 (4). pp. 321-335. ISSN 1354-9839
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The term “NIMBY” is used prolifically in both academic literature and general public discourse to describe a locally based action group protesting against a proposed development. It is frequently used to dismiss groups as selfish or ill-informed, as is illustrated both by those who accuse opponents of possessing such characteristics and also by the attempts of many community groups to reject the label. This lies in sharp contrast to the much encouraged notions of public participation in planning and community life as proposed by the UK government's proclaimed vision of a “sustainable community”. This paper argues that this dichotomy between “good” and “bad” participation can be misleading, by drawing on research from two case studies where locally based community groups opposed a specific, detailed development. The paper contributes to a burgeoning literature that reappraises conventional understandings of such groups by analysing often overlooked facets of protest groups, concluding that the conventional conceptualisations of them as NIMBY is inadequate and unhelpful in academic debate.