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An Alley Flat is a small detached residential unit, known as an ADU or Accessory Dwelling Unit, often accessed from Austin’s extensive network of alleys. These can be built by homeowners on the back of their lots to generate additional income or house family members.

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How to Participate

Why does Austin need Alley Flats?

The cost of housing in Austin is skyrocketing. In the last 15 years, the median home price in Austin has increased 67% while the median household income has only increased 38%. Because of rising property values, property taxes are also increasing. As a result, many families in Austin are finding it increasingly difficult to afford to stay within the city, threatening our city’s diversity and stability.

Amidst the challenges facing Austin to provide better affordable housing options for its residents there is an opportunity. Many of lots in the City of Austin are currently “underutilized,” meaning that existing structures cover less than 25-30% of the lot, and in some neighborhoods, such as those in East Austin, this represents the majority of buildable lots.

Austin is missing out on the social, environmental, and economic benefits of affordable ADUs such as:

  • Neighborhood stabilization
  • Sprawl mitigation
  • Green building
  • Improved alleys
  • Social capital
  • Income

How to Get Started



The Alley Flat Initiative depends on donations and grants to conduct the research required to improve the Alley Flat delivery system and propose innovative alternative affordable housing options.

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