Rome Travel Guide

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Friday, April 24, 2009

NIMBY, Italian version

We were surprised to learn in this morning's La Repubblica that the American anagram NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) is in use in Italy, where NIMBY refers to efforts by local groups to keep refuse facilities, electrical centers, and other, similarly unattractive, projects out of their communities and neighborhoods. Indeed, the strength of such efforts has the government considering an "anti-NIMBY" law.

The use of NIMBY is a curious one, because Italians, being mostly apartment dwellers, don't really have back yards. What they do have, especially in big cities such as Rome, is interior courtyards--know as "cortili"--for their apartment houses. Hence the Italian translation for "not in my back yard" is "non nel mio cortile"--not in my courtyard.

Bill

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