how something like crypto can solve NIMBYism

I think there is a way to ameliorate the chasm between NIMBYs and their opponents, by incentivizing NIMBYs to be proactive in helping solve problems on the neighbourhood and city level.

NIMBYs have a strong perception of “otherness”. It is rooted in something very primal: the protection of one’s territory from others. While I understand the idea, many of us on the other side are trying to address urgent problems which NIMBYs are currently incentivized to disregard.

I think Web3.0 can help solve this incentive problem. (Wait, really?)

Yes. Here is the idea that has been germinating in my head over the past couple of weeks: a city-based crypto currency.

🚨Caution: bleeding-edge theoretical ideas ahead!🚨

Minting the coin

The municipality makes all its residents holders of a Neighbourhood coin (NBHDcoin), which is linked to a fuzzy geographic fence based on your residence within a block. 

  • Everyone gets one coin: renters, home owners, babies… anyone who resides there. If you move out of the city, you lose your coin.
  • Holding NBHDcoin means you have part-ownership of a whole city block. Your part-ownership gives you stakes in the success of the block. Your “ownership” zone weakens the further away it is from your block.
  • Coin value is linked to how well the block is doing from a community-building and urban economics point of view.

How coin value is affected

These are some of the ways I imagine coin value to be affected.

  • Urban economics: Coin value increases the more income (tax over ops/maintenance costs of infrastructure) the block generates for the city. This will incentivize block members to collaborate and find ways to integrate new density into their own block, which they can do on their own terms, or with assistance of developers.
  • Affordability: Coin value is negatively impacted by high property values of a place. Rising property values are related to increased desirability of the block, which is great, and it will cause more people to want to live here. This creates short supply. To keep your NBHDcoin value from tanking, create more supply with your neighbours.
  • Strong community: Coin value increases the longer that you and your neighbours on the block live in the same place. Your tenure signifies your investment in the long term wellbeing of the place. The block’s cumulative tenure signifies similar commitment of your neighbours.

In essence, the idea is to incentivize behaviours that allow for bottom-up response to big problems that we’ve been unsuccessfully trying to solve from the top-down.

How to members benefit from high value NBHDcoin?

If your NBHDcoin is highly valued, it’s because you’ve contributed to creating surplus value within the urban ecosystem that more than covers for your own costs.

Members enjoy lower taxes, more pension, discounts at community centres and services they’ve helped create and carry the costs of due to YIMBY behaviour. They’re also subject to much less Land Transfer Tax if they choose to move their primary residence.

PS. I wrote this to start a conversation! 

Do you see a problem with using crypto in this way? What parts do you think could work? I’d like to hear it.

PSS. And you know what? I believe a pre-web version of this vision already exists.

In some parts of the world, they’re called housing co-ops. I lived in one in Norway as a child called OBOS. The co-op mandate, member benefits and incentives are very similar, especially with co-ops like OBOS who own and run a critical mass of properties in a city. Maybe I’ll write more about this another day.

Original tweet

Original title: Can crypto solve NIMBYism?

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