NOPE, we have no BANANAs

Investors in the Foxwoods Philadelphia Casino, now planned for The Gallery on East Market Street, will meet with Chinatown residents and other citizens Thursday evening to discuss the impact of the slots hall on the neighborhood. From all indications, they’ll be getting an earful.

That reminded us of a couple of guffaw-inducing acronyms introduced by Rina Cutler, Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities, at a breakfast sponsored by the local office of the Urban Land Institute in early September.

Everybody knows what a NIMBY is. The acronym for “not in my back yard” is heaved about like a manhole cover these days, describing any person protesting development near their home, from sewage plants and halfway houses to baseball fields and hot dog stands.

More people, particularly if they are developers themselves or know them personally, might be familiar with BANANA, shorthand for “build absolutely nothing, anywhere, near anything.”

“That guy’s a hardcore NIMBY, and his next-door neighbor is just plain BANANAs,” one might say.

Cutler suggested two more designations for active protesters that might best be illustrated in this sample sentence (our made-up sentence, that is): “NOPE, they won’t CAVE.”

NOPE is “not on planet Earth,” which would suggest a more blunt level of concern on the part of the adversary, perhaps a tier of seriousness above your average NIMBY.

CAVE means “citizens against virtually everything,” a snarkyism whose providence can undoubtedly be found from the builder side of the table (also used as “CAVEmen”).

Cutler, a former executive at PennDOT and the Philadelphia Parking Authority, has national experience with community activists. She was the head of transportation and traffic for the cities of Boston and San Francisco, respectively.

She was simply going for a couple laughs from a receptive audience and her co-panelists that day, and qualified her use of the terms by telling developers that, “On the other hand, … you have to be able to hear ‘no,’ too.”

But it got us wondering if there were other planning and development acronyms we were missing. An initial search turned up NIMEY, which is relevant in this political season (“not in my election year”). But it’s derivative and sounds tinny. Which makes it even more politically relevant, come to think of it.

We struck a gold mine in a 2005 article from Planetizen, an online information exchange for the urban planning, design and development communities. Author Ric Stephens reminded us of one we had forgotten, LULUs (“locally unacceptable land uses”), and added yet another excuse to say DUDE (“developer under delusions of entitlement”). The latter has a variant in NUDE (“neighborhoods under delusions of entitlement”).

We also liked YIMBY, but wondered how often it could possibly be used, since a YIMBY (“yes in my backyard”) is probably rarer than a spotted owl.

Included were some things you might find useful, if not terribly funny, like AICP (“any idiot can plan”) and ITNC (“in the next county”), but they are merely initials, not true acronyms. One has to have standards.

Here’s the link to the story: http://www.planetizen.com/node/152. Below are a few more acronyms, most of them NIMBY spinoffs. Please enjoy broad-brush labeling responsibly.

NIMFYE:  Not in my front yard either
NOTE:   Not over there either
NIMFOS:  Not in my field of sight
NIABY:   Not in anyone’s backyard
NOT:    None of that
SLAPP:   Strategic lawsuit against public participation
WIIFM:   What’s in it for me?
GOOMBA:   Get out of my business area
NORF:   No observable redeeming features
TROGlodytes:  Transit-only groupies
SMUG:  Smart urban growth

Posted by Thomas J. Walsh
Contact the reporter at
tom@thomasjwalsh.info

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