The multifamily housing market is at its peak. For years, developers and property managers have known that the demand for housing outpaced the available supply. As inflation and interest rates begin to rise, there’s an ever-louder demand for affordable spaces with mixed-use living. Investors, city planners and property managers often hear the same three words: live, work, play.
The solution may sound simple: invest in multifamily housing developments.
The reality? The very people who are asking for these new builds are the same ones turning down developer plans.
Known as “NIMBYs” (not-in-my-backyard), these long-term residents are often homeowners who fear their property taxes rising and a loss of the “good ole neighborhood charm” that caused them to buy in the first place. While material costs, lack of land and resources are driving increases in cost that impact affordability, community opposition still remains one of the top barriers to new multifamily housing developments.
On top of exclusionary zoning, excess approvals and community meeting after community meeting — developers and property management companies must find a way to turn a NIMBY into a loud and proud advocate for new construction. It’s unrealistic for teams to campaign at the neighborhood level with canvasses and promotional posters and convince people to speak in favor of projects in hours-long planning meetings.
But there is a way to push the needle in communities.
Transparency Helps Shift Perceptions Around Development
What will it take to change the mind of a NIMBY and their neighbors? It starts with trust and transparency.
Communities need to understand that approving new multifamily housing developments will benefit them in the long run. They need to be shown that developers have brought beauty and revitalization to their cities rather than push out long-term residents. They need to understand that less restrictive zoning laws can help keep their property taxes low. Most importantly, they need to see multifamily housing property investors as their partners in a housing crisis.
It comes down to the fact that NIMBYs need to “see it to believe it” — a big ask when the project isn’t about urban renewal but ground-up change.
It’s easy to understand that residents are cautious about new construction projects. The most visible projects are often public works — which are often known for traffic inconveniences as highway patterns change over long periods of time. The key to building trust is to share a completely different view of the construction process.
Time-lapses Open the Door for Community Collaboration and Trust
Visibility is already essential for developers and general contractors from notice to proceed through certificate of occupancy. Using construction cameras, teams easily document progress, mitigate risk and monitor their materials. This same powerful insight can also benefit long-term residents wary of construction plans.
Going to the people impacted by construction helps push back against the NIMBY movement and invites residents to see why they should be advocates for new projects. By sharing live-streams of construction progress, custom time-lapses of milestones or professional videos of past builds, developers and project teams invite residents to be their partners.
Leading construction cameras allow project teams to restrict access, balancing their need to track activity, safety and resource usage with a NIMBY’s desire to know what’s happening. With OxBlue’s camera systems specifically, site owners and managers can choose who receives public access and who can monitor the specifics. OxBlue also allows for site images or time-lapses to be embedded on websites, selecting how often images or views are updated for the public. Implementing this solution is as simple as sharing a link.
Even after a project is completed, time-lapses can be used again and again to win over more deals with city leaders. OxBlue provides professionally-edited, cinematic time-lapses that prove that the construction teams in question can work with the community and deliver beautiful, revitalized townhomes and apartments that enhance a city's charm.
This visual evidence is central to winning over NIMBYs and increasing advocacy among communities. Movie-like time-lapses generate excitement as video shows an incredible transformation unfold in just a few minutes. Those most impacted by change will be able to see the potential that’s ahead of them. Ultimately, sharing the story behind the build is one of the most powerful ways to tackle the barriers gaining community approval.