Backyard Neighborhoods

Last updated: September 29, 2014 (1 year ago)

Listing created on: August 16, 2011

Backyard Neighborhoods

(San Francisco, California, United States)

Mission Statement:

retrofit cohousing

Community Description:

The goal of this group is to connect people in any city or town who want to share all or parts of their backyards to create large, shared spaces where children can play and learn together spontaneously and neighbors can get to know each other easily and hang out together.

Some may just want to share portions of their backyards and nothing else. Others may want to share a few more things, such as tools and outdoor toys, and perhaps share occasional meals outdoors. And some may want to develop into retrofitting cohousing communities with some shared indoor facilities like N Street Cohousing in Davis, California, where fences have gradually been removed from the backyards of 19 houses. Those that focus on permaculture might even become urban ecovillages.

If you own or rent a home with a backyard and would like to have neighbors who want to remove or change fences and share parts of their backyards (or you already have shared backyard space and want to notify interested people when a home on your block becomes available for sale or rent), please see the “Blocks with Potential” page at

And if you would like to buy or rent a home on a block where there are residents who want to share parts of their backyards, you can contact us to be added to an announcement list. Please be specific about which area(s) you are interested in, such as a city, region, state, or country. Whenever someone tells us about property for sale or rent in a block where a resident wants to share backyard space, we will make an announcement to the people who are interested in the area that the block is in.

Also, please contact us if you hear of two or more houses next to each other for sale or rent at the same time, on any block. We could then contact the people interested in that area. (We could also help connect people who want to buy or rent in the same area if they want us to do that.)

The founders of this group live in San Francisco, so we are particularly interested in taking down fences in this city, but we also want to help create backyard neighborhoods in other areas.

We will never sell or rent any email address, and we won’t give your email address to anyone except a person or group you ask us to contact for you.


  • Visitors accepted: No
  • Open to new Members: Yes

Social Factors


  • Type: Ecovillage (organized around ecology and sustainability.), Cohousing (individual homes within group owned property.), Shared Housing (multiple individuals sharing a dwelling.), Neighborhood, Community Housing, or Homeowner’s Association, Other
  • Decision Making: Other
  • Identified Leader: No

Land and Buildings

Labor and Money

  • Shared Income: Members have completely independent finances
  • Required Labor Contribution:



    Cohousing Info

      • Shared common building: No

    Community Affiliations

    San Francisco Backyard Neighborhood and Learning Center


    home education, homeschooling, self-directed learning, unschooling

    We happily link to the following organizations, all of whom share our strong commitment to promoting community and a more cooperative world:
    Cohousing The Federation of Egalitarian Communities - Communes Coop Community Cooperative Sustainable Intentional North American Students of Cooperation Global Ecovillage Network
    Special thanks to the sponsors of our Art of Community Events.
    Bryan Bowan Architects California Cohousing International Communes Desk ICSA NICA Wolf Creek Lodge