Backyard
Homes

Completed in partnership with Vinit Mukhija of UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and with support from the Haynes Foundation, Backyard Homes proposes innovative, flexible, environmentally sensitive, and affordable architectural models for infilling Southern California's iconic single-family residential fabric. In the City of Los Angeles alone, a half million lots are zoned single-family, and recent state legislation makes it easier to construct a second dwelling unit on each property. This radical step has the potential to restructure sprawl in an intrinsically responsive manner: rather than unwanted, large-scale development, homeowners and neighborhoods can incrementally make their own homes more flexible and more affordable. In addition, if we add a sizable number of Backyard homes, we could significantly reduce the single-family zone's waste of non-renewable resources, particularly land and energy.

To encourage Backyard Homes, cityLAB draws three fundamental conclusions from its research. First, building a Backyard Home should resemble a retail transaction rather than a standard construction process. Second, the Backyard Home prototype must be customizable, given the infinite range of backyard site conditions and the diverse functional needs of households. Third, while a Backyard Home will not be appropriate for every lot, a few pilot demonstrations must be built to get things rolling. By promoting the incremental nature of Backyard Homes, we can envision how a largely suburban city can evolve into a more sustainable, post-suburban metropolis. Take a look at our Backyard Homes Book pdf here to see a summary of the work through 2010.

Related Links:
CNN Article
Newsweek Article
Daly Genik
AARP Research
California Legislation

Downloadable PDFs:
2014 Backyard Homes Report: Local Concerns
2010 Rx for the R1: Sustaining the Neighborhood
2010 The Shadows of LA
2010 Backyard Homes Book

Download Images:
Backyard Homes Images