A house for Tommy in my backyard! If only LA knew the opportunity that lies in our backyards…

Idea by Mutuo

There is no room for Tommy, the spaceman, and many more people in LA. But in our backyards may lie a great opportunity to make an extra rental income while increasing housing in LA. If only LA knew…


Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.

There is lack of affordable housing in LA.

We propose to use machine-learning and publicly available data to create a free database for homeowners to easily find out if they can build an additional living unit in their backyard.

We will also create an awareness campaign to help educate homeowners on this new opportunity right in their backyard!

Which of the LIVE metrics will your activation impact?​

Housing affordability

Rates of homelessness

Resilient communities

Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?​

LA is the healthiest place to CONNECT

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?​

Central LA

East LA

South LA

County of Los Angeles

How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?​

Create new tools or technologies for greater civic/political engagement

Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to LIVE?​

LA will be the best place to LIVE when it has enough affordable housing to be considered a truly inclusive place. We plan to activate Angelenos to build more housing units in Los Angeles: one unit - per backyard - at a time, to accomplish this goal.

Our activation will create an easily accessible database that identifies which properties in Los Angeles County can have secondary units (also called Accessory Dwelling Units or ADUs) on their lots. We will also create an awareness campaign to educate homeowners on the opportunity that lies in their backyards: an additional housing unit that can create rental income while helping with efforts to increase affordable housing in LA.

Los Angeles is struggling with lack of affordable housing and an increase in its homeless population. ADUs are a significant way to increase the housing stock in Los Angeles.

LA County and the City of LA have relaxed zoning regulations in order to allow for construction of more ADUs. The number of permitted ADUs has grown this past year. However, if we are to make a dent in the affordable housing crisis we have to build many more ADUs per year.

Nowadays, a process to determine if a lot is eligible for an ADU addition requires the design consultant’s or homeowner’s investment of time to read and interpret complicated zoning code constraints.

We propose to streamline this process by generating quick answers for homeowners on their possibilities regarding ADUs on their properties. To accomplish this task our database will use machine-learning and existing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to predict with good certainty the likelihood of a property being allowed by zoning codes to have an ADU.

After the database is generated, we will develop a user-friendly website where anyone can search for their property and see if they can build an ADU. We will be able to reach out more people in less time and hopefully contribute to engage more homeowners in building ADUs.

We will also create an awareness campaign targeting homeowners of South LA, Central LA and East LA.

Our activation will eventually contribute to the addition of affordable units in communities impacting Housing Affordability Metric and Homelessness Metric. We also believe that it will impact the Resilient Communities Metric since it will boost much needed housing opportunities.

LA will be the best place to LIVE when housing becomes more affordable, and homelessness is drastically reduced. We will activate Angelenos to participate in the affordable housing movement. We can all be a part of the affordable housing solution in LA!

How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to LIVE​

Our activation will educate Angelenos to contribute to the solution for the affordable housing challenge in LA: by adding a secondary unit on a single-family residential lot.

We will focus our awareness efforts in South LA, Central LA and East LA. By focusing our awareness efforts on low-income communities close to downtown LA, we are hoping to increase the affordable housing supply in a sustainable way. For example, as a consequence of additional ADUs in these areas, the increased population will have easy access to existing public transportation and proximity to schools and jobs.

We hope to empower these communities in ways that will generate more community participation in solving its challenges. Renters educated on the potential addition of ADUs can spread the word to their landlords and neighbors. They might have family members or friends in need of housing that could benefit from ADU additions to their street. This can be an opportunity to enrich and better connect these neighborhoods.

As the fringes of Downtown LA redevelop, low-income communities are most at risk for displacement. This organic increase in affordable units can be taken as an opportunity to steer change in the direction of strengthening communities.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your activation.​

We will measure success by the amount of single-family lots searched in our database/ website and we will ultimately measure success by matching searched addresses in our website to permits obtained for ADU construction in LA County.

Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?

We hope that in five years most homeowners of single-family lots in Los Angeles County will know if they can build an ADU in their lots. We also hope that most homeowners eligible to add an ADU will be in the process of building one.