Sowing the Seed

Sharing backyards: increase community connection along with food production.

Backyard space is often wasted; it can become a storage space for unwanted goods, and needs regular maintenance. In this vision neighbours cooperate to create a more sustainable neighbourhood. Two neighbours initially remove their fences to build a shared vegetable garden. They are joined by some of their immediate neighbours. The group purchases rainwater tanks and solar panels through a discounted community water and renewable energy scheme. As more neighbours participate, backyards soon turn into community spaces. Although sharing more, neighbours are still in control of their property and have privacy around their immediate home. In pulling down the fences, they haven’t given up much but have gained a lot more.

By cooperating the community frees up space for new collective activities; rainwater collection, gardening, composting, and new social spaces. The neighbours share maintenance and invest in small building projects such as shelters, BBQs and play equipment. In doing this they create a more connected community. The benefits and opportunities are clear to other residents and soon the idea is replicated in other neighbourhoods. Through community-led behaviour change, the community transforms from a passive community into an active and connected community.


Brent Leheny




Mess (2): Everyday Babylon

Studio Leaders

Lisa Dew & Ammon Beyerle