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Entanglement of Interests and Motives: Assumptions behind the NIMBY-theory on Facility Siting

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  • Maarten Wolsink

    (Department of Environmental Science, University of Amsterdam, Nieuwe Prinsengracht 130, 1018 VZ Amsterdam, the Netherlands)

Abstract

In Dutch policy documents resistance to planned trajectories and sites for facilities is accounted for in terms of the NIMBY (not-in-my-backyard) attitudes held by local residents. Therefore, as a desperate effort to crush the opposition against some major projects, new physical planning legislation is proposed. A new instrument is introduced for the central authorities which drastically limits the influence of the local authorities and the public on the siting process. Since the basic idea behind it is the 'theory' of people defending their own backyard without recognising the needs of society as a whole, it is called the NIMBY instrument. If certain conditions concerning the nature of attitudes held by local residents are fulfilled, siting decisions can be theoretically described and classified as social dilemmas. Six implicit assumptions which can be distinguished in the backyard theory are examined, leading to the conclusion that the theory does not hold for most people. Interests of local residents are entangled with their behavioural motives. The new Dutch NIMBY policy will change priorities and power structures in the process of facility siting. Probably the new policy will prove to be counterproductive. The public are offended when they are treated as selfish and irrational and opposition will probably be stimulated by the use of the NIMBY instrument.

Suggested Citation

  • Maarten Wolsink, 1994. "Entanglement of Interests and Motives: Assumptions behind the NIMBY-theory on Facility Siting," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 31(6), pages 851-866, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:urbstu:v:31:y:1994:i:6:p:851-866
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    1. Jacqueline Hettel Tidwell & Abraham Tidwell & Steffan Nelson, 2018. "Surveying the Solar Power Gap: Assessing the Spatial Distribution of Emerging Photovoltaic Solar Adoption in the State of Georgia, U.S.A," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(11), pages 1-16, November.
    2. Simón, Xavier & Copena, Damián & Montero, María, 2019. "Strong wind development with no community participation. The case of Galicia (1995–2009)," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 133(C).
    3. Brunes, Fredrik & Hermansson, Cecilia & Song, Han-Suck & Wilhelmsson, Mats, 2016. "NIMBYs for the rich and YIMBYs for the poor: Analyzing the property price effects of infill development," Working Paper Series 16/2, Royal Institute of Technology, Department of Real Estate and Construction Management & Banking and Finance.
    4. Prosperi, Maurizio & Lombardi, Mariarosaria & Spada, Alessia, 2019. "Ex ante assessment of social acceptance of small-scale agro-energy system: A case study in southern Italy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 346-354.
    5. Motosu, Memi & Maruyama, Yasushi, 2016. "Local acceptance by people with unvoiced opinions living close to a wind farm: A case study from Japan," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 362-370.
    6. Harold, Jason & Bertsch, Valentin & Lawrence, Thomas & Hall, Magie, 2018. "Drivers of people's preferences for spatial proximity to energy infrastructure technologies: a cross-country analysis," Papers WP583, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    7. Reusswig, Fritz & Braun, Florian & Heger, Ines & Ludewig, Thomas & Eichenauer, Eva & Lass, Wiebke, 2016. "Against the wind: Local opposition to the German Energiewende," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 214-227.
    8. Ladenburg, Jacob & Dahlgaard, Jens-Olav, 2012. "Attitudes, threshold levels and cumulative effects of the daily wind-turbine encounters," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 40-46.
    9. Rebecca Houghtaling, 2005. "Local impediments to realization of national policy: the role of stakeholders in siting wind projects," NEURUS papers neurusp97, NEURUS - Network of European and US Regional and Urban Studies.
    10. Wolsink, Maarten, 2007. "Wind power implementation: The nature of public attitudes: Equity and fairness instead of 'backyard motives'," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 11(6), pages 1188-1207, August.
    11. Boyle, Kevin J. & Boatwright, Jessica & Brahma, Sreeya & Xu, Weibin, 2019. "NIMBY, not, in siting community wind farms," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 85-100.
    12. Ladenburg, Jacob & Termansen, Mette & Hasler, Berit, 2013. "Assessing acceptability of two onshore wind power development schemes: A test of viewshed effects and the cumulative effects of wind turbines," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 45-54.
    13. Scheer, Dirk & Konrad, Wilfried & Wassermann, Sandra, 2017. "The good, the bad, and the ambivalent: A qualitative study of public perceptions towards energy technologies and portfolios in Germany," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 89-100.
    14. Jacquet, Jeffrey B., 2012. "Landowner attitudes toward natural gas and wind farm development in northern Pennsylvania," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 677-688.

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