Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Streetsblog.net

What Mister Rogers Can Teach Us About Cities and NIMBYism

If you spend much time at community meetings, or you're a Leslie Knope fan, you know that public forums are often where open-mindedness goes to die.

Mister Rogers was “the anti-NIMBY.” Photo: Galaxy fm/Flickr
Mister Rogers was “the anti-NIMBY.” Photo: Galaxy fm/Flickr
false

Bill Lindeke of Twin City Sidewalks has been thinking about the contrast between urban NIMBYism and the ideals espoused by Fred Rogers, host of the legendary Pittsburgh-based public television show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

Here's what Lindeke has to say.

The heart of Mister Rogers’ show is an acceptance of difference, a kindness towards the surrounding urban world and the people that live in it. And in that, Mister Rogers seems like the antitheses of so much of the conversation that happens in actual old-fashioned urban neighborhoods in places like Minneapolis and Saint Paul. If you actually go to a neighborhood meeting, people often seem consumed by knee-jerk negativity. You're more likely to see Mister Rogers-looking cardigan-clad men and women rejecting the idea of having new neighbors.

I like imagining a world where Mister Rogers runs all the community meetings, sits down with drivers upset about bicycles, or neighbors upset about parking, and talks about sharing.

“There are all kinds of people in the neighborhood, and some of them don’t always drive around," he might say. "Sometimes people like walking, and need to get across all these busy lanes of traffic. And they need to feel safe too.”

Or, “Sometimes the neighborhood fills up with so many cars, and where do you put them? You have to share the street. It belongs to all the people who live here, every single one of you.”

It might see naive, but I’d love if more conversations began with a bit of Mister Rogers’s attitude. Compassion instead of suspicion, the joy of appreciating a beautiful day, of trying new things, of being with other people in a neighborhood full of diversity.

Mister Rogers was the anti-NIMBY.

Elsewhere on the Network: More from Minnesota as Streets MN analyzes a schism among sustainable transport supporters; and Greater Greater Washington and WABA report that part of a critical DC bikeway could be out of commission for two years.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Delivery Worker Minimum Wage Shows Promise … For Some, Data Shows

New data from New York City's Department of Consumer and Worker Protection shows minimum wage is bringing order to a previously wild industry.

July 15, 2024

Monday’s Headlines Go Through Basic Training

An NYU study looks into why the U.S. is lagging behind on high-speed rail, and one transportation expert ponders the impact on growth.

July 15, 2024

Sustainable Transportation Advocates Need to Talk About Sustainable Urban Design

A new book hopes to act as a "magic decoder ring" to our built environment — and a powerful tool to understand how sustainable transportation networks can fit within them.

July 15, 2024

Long Beach Leads in Traffic Circles

Traffic circles aren't quite ubiquitous in Long Beach, but they're around. Riding and walking through the city one encounters circles in neighborhoods rich and poor, new and old.

July 12, 2024

Friday’s Headlines Take Me to the River

Politico reports that the Biden administration is investing $2.5 billion in updating aging Mississippi River locks and dams like this one in Iowa. Transporting freight by barge produces less emissions than trucks or even rail.

July 12, 2024
See all posts