Speaking before the U.S. Conference of Mayors' National Economic Summit in Manhattan, the president of the National Multi Housing Council (NMHC) urged the nation's leading mayors and business executives to defy NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) opposition to apartments if they want to create vibrant communities.

"Cities that discourage apartments do so at their own peril. The smart growth benefits of apartments are becoming well known," said Doug Bibby last week. "Because they are more compact, apartments use fewer resources (sewer/water lines, extended police and fire service areas) and conserve green space."

Bibby cited a study that found that the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota region forgoes an estimated $265 million per year in consumer spending and business income because it lacks sufficient workforce housing.

"But apartments are also important for economic development," he explained. "Towns without a sufficient supply of affordable rental housing discourage businesses from locating or expanding there. They force workers to live far from their jobs, which contributes to congestion and pollution and puts citizens at risk by pushing first responder public safety employees (police and firefighters) farther and farther away."

Bibby also encouraged the assembled mayors to re-think their obsolete zoning regulations that often discourage rental housing. "Allowing more multifamily and mixed-use developments will have a ripple effect that will benefit the entire region."