Students Tackle the NIMBY Project

By Jewell Kleman
May 03, 2019

As part of the Unit on State and Local Government, Ms. Kleman’s AA and Honors class completed a Tiny Home Community for the Homeless Project. They served as the staff for the city manager of a fictional town near VA Beach. The driving question for the project was "How can we, as the city manager’s staff, decide the best site to develop a tiny house community for Franklinburg’s homeless and provide proof that we have followed the proper process so the mayor and city council can inform and convince the public that this is the best solution?” Students spent a month researching, analyzing demographics, participating in public hearing simulations and developing a detailed persuasive website of the their final plan. They also completed a simulation where they had to deal with the media and the questions from the public about the policy process. Students collaborated and created a tiny home floorplan, a community design, calendar of events, cost analysis and a detailed explanation of the planning process for the community. I was impressed with the creativity that the students demonstrated with many going beyond the requirements to include videos and team shirts. Students remarked that they were surprised about how long it took get the plan in motion, how expensive it would be to create, and the difficulty of turning a NIMBY reaction into a YIMBY approval. Overall, the project was a success in students learning the process for policy making and the complexities faced by local officials has they try to promote public safety and improve public welfare in their districts.