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New housing development in Arizona won’t allow residents to bring cars

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A car-free experiment breaks ground in Tempe

Desert city seen from above. Opticos/Hugo Render

All around the world, cities are contending with traffic, pollution, and pedestrian danger related to cars. While cities have taken various efforts to curb cars on the road, a new housing development in Tempe, Arizona, is trying a novel approach: banning residents from bringing their own cars altogether.

As the Wall Street Journal reports, Culdesac Tempe, a 1,000-person rental development that just broke ground, won’t allow residents’ personal cars to be driven or parked on site. Instead, the property will fill the extra space with retail, a food hall, communal fire pits, plazas, green space, and other amenities. Imagine that.

Rendering of a street with light rail, bike paths, and cars.
Rendering of a street in the Culdesac development.
Opticos/Hugo Render
Rendering of a courtyard with seating and trees.
Rendering of a Culdesac courtyard.
Opticos/Hugo Render

The housing stock is well positioned for this car-free experiment. It sits right next to a light rail that connects to downtown Tempe, the airport, and Arizona State University. According to the WSJ, the developer was able to negotiate its way out of the required parking spots (developments typically require one parking spot per unit), by prioritizing a host of other transportation options like scooters, bikes, and ride share programs.

It’s a big vision for a small slice of the city, but it might just be the future of safer, more sustainable neighborhoods. If it works, Culdesac has plans to expand to other cities—you can also request for Culdesac to come to your city on its website.