The following letter to the editor by Greater Canberra’s Secretary, Andrew Donnellan, was published (in slightly edited form) in The Saturday Paper on 27 May 2023, in response to an article in the 20 May issue by architecture critic Elizabeth Farrelly, “The housing crisis and nimbys v yimbys”, that contained a number of misconceptions about housing supply and the kinds of planning reforms that pro-housing advocates, like our members, want to see.
Our Convenor, Howard Maclean, also wrote a Twitter thread addressing a number of other issues with Dr Farrelly’s article.
Elizabeth Farrelly (“The housing crisis and nimbys v yimbys”, May 20) displays a number of unfortunate misunderstandings about YIMBYism.
The strangest is her assertion that YIMBYism suits governments that don’t want to take on the political challenge of enabling soft density. On the contrary, YIMBYs are the loudest voices calling for a shift from the spot rezoning strategy that she rightly calls out.
In February, Greater Canberra, Australia’s most active community-based YIMBY organisation, launched Missing Middle Canberra, a coalition of 15 organisations across both the community and private sectors. We call for broad upzoning across Canberra to enable the kind of mid-rise incremental urbanism that Dr Farrelly espouses.
While YIMBYs believe high-rise housing has its place, I hope Dr Farrelly can find common ground with us and call for aggressive, large-scale action to enable medium-density development, rather than the half-measures that politicians have tried so far.