In Our Back Yard

Mid-Block Parcel A - In Our Back Yard

By the standards of walkable urbanism, Sunset isn’t dense enough. Average lots are too big for the
neighborhood’s two-story single-families, and much of its land area is used for street-facing parking
pads and single-car garages. Yet Sunset has a dedicated community of homeowners and renters who have lovingly maintained and adorned their homes for decades. Much like the developer pitches for the original neighborhood, In Our Back Yard (IOBY) envisions a new dream for Sunset that connects with residents’ imaginations and deeply held values.

IOBY proposes that new housing shouldn’t subtract from the existing community or its unique
character. If one family is asked to demolish their home to make way for multiple new units, there may not be any takers, but if a whole block can rally together to add housing without demolition or
displacement, radically transformational impact is possible. IOBY envisions a collaborative community development model that makes adding affordable housing simple and fun by re-engineering Sunset’s urban fabric to unlock mid-block armatures of high-density walk-up housing.

Homeowners can opt in to IOBY, contributing to block density by converting a 25-foot portion of their rear yard into a duplex multi-family building accessed from the rear. Blocks with open lots like Midblock Parcel A prioritize those gaps in the fabric as neighborhood amenities, maintaining them as shared open space and access points for the inner block community. These customizable portals include gardens, playgrounds, picnic tables, bicycle storage, mail and other shared infrastructure for new and existing community residents alike. Residents can also serve as hosts, converting ground floor garages into additional rear alley access, mixed-use studios and pop-up retail.

In order to meet the diverse needs of homeowners, a range of building type options include additions of one or two units designed for sale, rental or multigenerational living. IOBY resists reliance on private development choices to shape neighborhoods, instead proposing a flexible, organic urbanism that can unfold over time, allowing each block to form its own shared vision for a denser and more connected Sunset.