What YIMBY Means for Architectural Design

by Don Browne

By now, many of us in the homebuilding sector know what the term YIMBY means. The “Yes In My Back Yard” concept originated in the 1990s as a progressive reaction to the NIMBY “Not In My Back Yard” movement.

YIMBY has blossomed into a formidable movement of its own in recent years. A significant catalyst for this rapid growth has been the increasingly tangible impacts of restrictions on land use by local governments – including bans on modern and more affordable building materials.

The Vinyl Siding Institute (VSI) has been ahead of the curve on this movement, successfully advocating for state prohibitions against local bans on modern materials. Like the YIMBYs, we have been working hard to “legalize housing” for teachers, first responders and other valued workforce members who have been priced out of the American dream of homeownership. An impressive 35 YIMBY chapters in almost 20 different states and two Canadian provinces lobby for allowing more housing in every neighborhood, especially historically affluent neighborhoods, removing barriers to subsidized affordable2 and market-rate housing.

As a former local legislator and housing commissioner, I can speak from personal experience that market rate and even affordable housing can integrate nicely into wealthy neighborhoods – between and among the bigger houses.

In this context, there are numerous exciting opportunities for the architectural community to design beautiful, affordable workforce housing using modern materials like vinyl siding – offering a wide array of unique and emulated styles in their product lines.

With the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) offering cost-saving incentives for new homebuilding and renovation projects that use sustainable materials, here are some useful resources to help you prepare for YIMBY-influenced programs:

1  “Workforce housing” is defined as modestly priced housing that essential workers such as first responders, teachers, public servants, tradespeople and others can and should be able to afford. The gap between what the essential workforce can afford and “market-rate” housing has contributed to the explosive growth of the YIMBY movement and has been a focus of VSI’s efforts in advocating for state legislative reform that forbids local bans on modern materials. This gap has also been characterized as “the missing middle.”

2 By “affordable housing,” we refer to housing developed/intended for lower-income families.


Don Browne is a writer, entrepreneur and local legislator who believes that the power of words can change the world. He provides unique writing services for clients in the construction, health care, IT and hospitality sectors. He has a passion for small business and start-ups, as well as writing about Irish history, family and corporate biographies. As a homeowner and father of four who is passionate about community development, Don looks forward to writing more about the exciting possibilities of creating traditional neighborhoods and more sustainable communities using modern materials.