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NIMBY: Neighbourhood in My Backyard, Sydney Lane




Sydney, Australia


Idea Competition


Bee Breeders ​Architecture Competition Organizers, in partnership with



1 of 40 shortlisted entries

Competition Website

Terraced houses can be found across Sydney inner city. They were originally built to provide dwelling during early urbanization in 18th-19th century. We could proudly call it Sydney’s early home, where every centimeter is painted with years of history. These tiny little blocks of houses are filled with rooms for everyone, from a couple to their children, for all live together. With backyards to enjoy living outdoor and chatting with neighbours. Overtime, we all grow up and so as our beloved city. They eventually became too small. Some residents had to move out; some had to renovate their historical houses until no longer recognizable. Backyards became lifeless, laneways became isolated and fences are rising on every block.  Why don’t we put something in our backyard to make it livable again? Something that allow us to stay happily together. Making the neighborhood  lively, safe, efficient and environmental friendly, as well as preserving Sydney’s living legacy.



NIMBY SYDNEY LANE sees the opportunity to develop these terrace houses and laneways, which are located in the area that has potential to promote more appropriate density and diversity within the community. A network that connects the current Central Business District to a future CBD to the south and also make Sydney Green Grid plan even more effective. This network of affordable rental housing will be placed across the inner city around Central Business District, Darlinghurst and Paddington to the east, Glebe, Darlington and Chippendale to west, Surrey Hills, Redfern and Waterloo to the south. This total of 22 kilometers long laneway network is expected to support up to 10,000 housing units.



Smart Rehabilitation + Infill

Terrace houses were brought to Australia since the arrival of Great Britain’s colonization from London. Later in 1851-1888, the wealth of Sydney Gold Rush brought large numbers of immigrants and fuelled housing development. Then, after World War II, come the Federation era. Brick became archetypal of the era, but some of the features from earlier Victorian era such as cast iron still remained. They are the historical elements that create sense of place. Therefore, conservation plan should be applied to the area before any further change or adaptation. The aim is to keep the historical architecture as vibrant and as true to its history to celebrate the past. The infill too should respect the traditional elements of terrace houses. The new infill should be beneficial to everyone, both the old residents and new comers. Make the environmental a better place to be.



Socioeconomical and Ecological Infrastructure

Sydney’s narrow laneways make for more intimate street scapes. They were made for human and have a huge amount of potential. We’ve seen how laneways in cities like Melbourne have turned into lively public realm; provide extensive cultural, economic, social, health and environmental benefits. With more private own public space and housing along the laneways, the neighbourhood will be more welcome and livable. The house owners also benefit from providing their space for rent, more green terrace on the roof, more eyes on streets, which consequently leads to safer and more livable community. In social aspect, this will also helps to promote inclusive and diverse community.

Laneways will be car-free and waking-cycling friendly, made of porous pavement so stormwater can be stored underground for drought season. The ecological setback along the laneway will act as buffer and vegetated filter strips for the houses and will be connected to Sydney’s 2030 Green Grid Plan and helps to promote greener Sydney.



Application for both parties to find the right match

Our application will help users to organize their life, basically. Helps with future family planning and housing suggestion according to users’ average income, along with their houses information to analyze the best solution. If the house owners decide to be part of our program, we may request to make change to the existing If necessary i.e. demolition  of the wall on laneway side and all unplanned, inappropriate architectural structures of element that don’t compromise with the conservation plan to make the overall. Our team will also provide the conservation and renovation guide for each house individually, including laws and regulations. Learning from the history of their houses will be easier. Users could also list their preferred tenant / house owner qualification such as non-smoking, no children, no pets, etc. With the application’s matching algorithm, we aim to make sure that both the house owners and tenants are the right matches for each other. There will be solution for everyone in every condition and income level. Because everyone is different, but we all are parts of the community.

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