5d. Why are some people opposed to density?
When faced with the prospect of an affordable housing development in their neighbourhood, some people are contradictory in their support – stating they are in favour of affordable housing, but prefer the status quo when it comes to their own neighbourhood. They are sometimes referred to as NIMBY (Not In My Backyard). The NIMBY perspective is often rooted in a perceived conflict between the proposed development and the impact it will have on the lifestyle and investment of existing residents.
When it comes to density specifically, most often residents are concerned about increased traffic, street congestion and strain on urban infrastructure.
While loving the current status of a neighbourhood is worthy, the reality is neighbourhoods and communities change over time. What worked 10, 30 or 50 years ago in urban planning will not adequately address the community challenges of today, particularly not with climate change, cultural diversity and infrastructure deficits.
Urban planning has made many advances in planning practice to properly regulate and incent densification. The key question in urban planning discussions is not whether urban areas ought to become denser; it will be how to best manage it.