At work and at play | Nimby

Have you ever heard the acronym Nimby? It stands for ‘Not In My Back Yard’. It is usually used pejoratively to describe opposition by residents to a proposal for a new development close to them. And this is exactly what I have been dealing with for the past nine months. It is similar to people wanting renewable energy, but not wanting to see or hear the wind turbines.

In my case, most of my new preschool neighbours have written letters to the council to oppose our project of opening a children’s institution. Of course, this is understandable since we have decided to settle in one of the calmest areas of Valby. However, I have read some of the wildest arguments against my project. One neighbour argues that our presence will reduce the value of their property. Another is convinced that due to the increased use of the toilets by the children, there is a high risk of causing a blocked sewer system in the whole neighbourhood. These baby poos are just so potent! Another argues that they are all Danish so there is no need for an international preschool in the area. Maybe they should tune into the daily news where local politicians keep on telling us how much Copenhagen needs more international education at all levels. Sure, but not in my backyard.

Of course I understand that children make a lot of noise and disturb the peace, and the most fervent opponents to the project are those concerned about the noise that a preschool can cause. But while I agree that children are by nature noisy, it’s worth bearing in mind that I have had to pay for specialists to come and measure the noise levels of the adjoining train tracks to prove that it was not too loud for the children when they play outside! Surely, the neighbourhood must realise that freight trains that pass by several times an hour from dawn til dusk should be much more bothersome than a few sweet children enjoying themselves outside for a couple of hours a day. Oh well, all together now, not in their backyard.

In any case, it’s not like I’m opening a nuclear plant, a chemical waste disposal unit or even a nightclub! It is just a little children’s institution where my Nimby neighbours will most probably overhear children’s songs, a few giggles and at worst, some shrieks of delight.