Adelaide NIMBY – definition, examples

Adelaide NIMBY – definition, examples

Adelaide NIMBY – definition, examples

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The Adelaide NIMBY will complain about a lot of things and be criticised in return. Let us explore the Adelaide NIMBY world with a few examples.

NIMBY definition

NIMBY is short for “Not In My Back Yard”. It means that a resident will complain about not wanting a nearby project that is announced to be developed so close to where they live. The reasons are varied but revolve around how it will affect the resident.

NIMBY examples

An example in recent years was complaints about a guy in the eastern suburbs who wanted to put up a small wind turbine in his back yard. People went to the council to try to get it stopped. People said that it would be too noisy and could affect their sleep and so on.

Another example is the minority of nuisances in North Adelaide who hired decibel reading equipment during the Soundwave music festival at Bonython Park in 2014. The noise from a couple of stages then and in 2015 was over the limit by a couple of decibels. The festival lost its $10,000 bond two years in a row. It was subsequently axed, which is not very helpful because it created work for locals.

The latest example is the announcement in early 2015 of a new apartment building on Unley Road (if it goes ahead). Some of the general NIMBY complaints were:

  • Unley Road businesses are closing so an apartment building with more shops is not really necessary.
  • The narrow streets around the proposed site will become more congested.
  • Garbage trucks will have to pick up 3 times a week (a noise problem).
  • It will be a slum. Today’s new multi-storey buildings are tommorrow’s slums in a recession. Plus, unless the by-laws ban it, people will hang clothes out on the balcony making it look like a Brazillian favella (slum).


These reasons attracted criticism in social media. People lamented the fact that some people do not want Adelaide to progress. I actually disagree with this and here is why.

I can see both sides of the story but is it really necessary to build yet another apartment building with overpriced apartments for Chinese buyers? People complain in Adelaide because the much more urgent priorities go begging year after year. I think people have the right to complain for that reason and it does not make them a NIMBY. If the right projects were on the table, like the right type of infrastructure, hospitals and so on, then the so-called NIMBYs would be on board with the ideas for the most part.

When it comes to suburban developments, though, NIMBYs do not like high rise buildings overshadowing their home. Some people do not like the lack of privacy, more noise, extra traffic created by cramming more people into a smaller area, road rage that results and other crime in the area. This is a vast land where there is no excuse for overpriced suburban homes all crammed into a small number of buildings and surrounding houses. What choice do some people have, though? Many people do not want to move further away from suburbia to where the land is much more appropriately priced but there are less jobs.

Greedy developers, councils and the state government take advantage of this because they want more revenue. One way to get it from a small area of land is to “rack ’em, pack ’em, and stack ’em”, like former state Treasurer Kevin Foley once wanted for prisoners 🙂 But is it really necessary to build up when some experts suggest that a second smaller city on the other side of the hills or north of Gawler might be better instead of vertical city sprawl?

One reason that experts say that vertical urban sprawl is not the way to go is that many of the apartments are owned by foreign absentee landlords. They are a tax deduction but sometimes they have no tenants. Local business owners mistakenly think they will get rich off an influx of apartment dwellers. But this does not happen when buildings are half empty. Today’s new high rise is tomorrow’s ghetto during a recession. Local businesses cannot get rich off empty buildings. Even street criminals do not bother with them. High rise buildings are also incredibly energy inefficient and expensive therefore to live in, not just to buy, because of their design. Who would want to live in a living coffin?

People miss the good old days. You could run around as a child because there was plenty of land around to run around on. There was far less traffic back then as well. Then the late 1980s and early 1990s hit. Suburbia as well as farm land in the hills and down to Victor Harbour became the new battle ground for greed with overpriced homes. Now children are obese, there is more traffic than ever, and housing affordability is at an all time low. There is no excuse for any of that at all in a vast land like Australia!

Update – 18/5/16:

A recent example of how new apartment buildings do not always lead to increased local shopping was seen in Walkerville where The Watson building was expected to generate more shoppers. Local traders have said that Walkerville Terrace has been really quiet. An award-winning old-English themed tea house there closed this year after more than one year of trade. The owner told the media that other traders were struggling also because it was so quiet.

Another recent example was seen on the ABC’s ‘4 Corners’ which looked at the property market bubble in Australia. Real estate agents interstate are reporting a glut of vacant apartments that they are struggling to find tenants to live in. Several half-empty apartment buildings were shown as examples of known buildings with hardly anyone living in them. So when we read local stories here that building height restrictions have been lifted along North East Road, for example, and local business owners mistakenly believe that it will be good for business, you can only feel sorry for them for buying the hype. There will be a glut of housing in 2018 in the northern and north eastern suburbs after Holden closes. Changing zoning to allow higher mixed use buildings will not change that and will not be a pot of gold for local cafes and restaurants.


About the author:

See my comment post in About for a brief guide to why I am here.

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