Activism or egotism? A critical view of the NIMBY phenomenon in cases of energy infrastructure in Israel

Benny Furst, Michelle E. Portman, Yael Teff-Seker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The NIMBY (“not in my backyard”) phenomenon, in which stakeholders oppose new land uses and activities in their vicinity, has been a subject of discussion for several decades. For energy infrastructure, it results from the apparent juxtaposition between the desire to maintain resident well-being and a healthy environment on the one hand, and the demand for energy, and maintaining an energy-intensive standard of living, on the other. Based on a review of the literature on energy infrastructure NIMBY, interviews with key informants, documents, and media analysis, this article analyzes the NIMBY phenomenon in the context of two recent energy-infrastructure development projects in Israel. Specifically, it addresses cases relating to gas treatment facilities, which are rarely the focus of other existing literature in this context. The case analysis indicates that decision-makers and planners mainly regard NIMBYism as an unjustified obstacle to infrastructure development, whereas objecting residents consider it an articulation of their dissatisfaction with perceived environmental threats, and therefore a legitimate and effective means to ensure environmental and social justice for themselves and for their community. The main insight is that expanding public consultation and engagement with planners and developers at earlier planning stages could reduce or modify NIMBY objections, as well as the perception of NIMBYism by developers and planners. We emphasize that understanding NIMBY narratives offers advantages to policymakers, energy companies, and planners and suggests potential strategies for all three.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4921-4938
Number of pages18
JournalGeo Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2023


  • Energy infrastructure
  • Environmental planning
  • Host community compensation
  • Stakeholder engagement

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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