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coUrbanize Survey Shows Decrease in NIMBYism Over Course of Pandemic

62% of Respondents Express Support for Real Estate Development, Compared to 49% in 2020

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.Sept. 14, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The pandemic, worsening housing crisis, and social changes of the past two years appear to have struck a significant blow against NIMBYism, according to a recent survey by coUrbanize, a technology company that powers community engagement in development and planning. 62% of respondents surveyed — all visitors to dedicated coUrbanize websites for real estate projects — described themselves as pro-development, compared to 49% of respondents in 2020.

Projects most popular among respondents centered on housing. A majority welcomed affordable housing for senior citizens (76%); workforce housing for teachers, firefighters, and public servants (69%); affordable housing for people with disabilities (66%); single-family housing for middle-class families (64%); and affordable housing for veterans (63%).

“We attribute this support to a wider recognition of social inequities and to the housing crisis,” says Karin Brandt, CEO and founder of coUrbanize. She adds that public transportation, another popular project type among respondents (62%), may also be tied to such recognition. “When housing is not affordable in town centers where many jobs are located, workers have no choice but to move farther away. Public transportation is critical for economic mobility.”

Respondents were somewhat less enthusiastic about retail projects (57%) and low-income housing (50%). The least welcomed projects were lab facilities (20%) and public housing (31%).

“We celebrate the overall increase in support for development, but there is still work to be done,” says Brandt. “For example, people continue to fear the prospect of public housing in their community, even though few respondents (20%) characterize their community as affordable. We believe that these fears stem from systemic racism, unconscious biases, and misinformation. Our ongoing objective is to combat such attitudes through education and communication so that we reach all stakeholders – not just the vocal NIMBYs.”

She concludes, “If you want to change outcomes for communities, engagement needs to be equitable and meaningful. That’s the purpose of the coUrbanize platform in a nutshell.”

The full report on the survey findings is available for download here.


This year’s survey, which was conducted over the month of August, garnered 1,600 responses from visitors to coUrbanize project websites. The previous survey of visitors took place during a two-week period in early March of 2020 and garnered 1,073 responses.

About coUrbanize

coUrbanize gives people a way to share their feedback and have a voice in a development or public planning process without having to go to a meeting – by simply posting a comment online or texting in their ideas — and having a two-way dialogue with the project team. More than 500 development and real estate teams have used coUrbanize to scale public outreach in a more inclusive way, have more productive conversations with the community, and ultimately build critical support for their projects. For more information, please visit cour.loc.

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