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Culdesac is building a car-free city in Arizona

Culdesac is building a car-free city in Arizona

Culdesac is realizing its lofty ambition of building America’s first car-free, walkable, and 100% rentable neighborhood.

Not content to merely let time march on unattended to, a bevy of next-gen organizations are taking experience design to the next level by actively creating optimistic slices of a future world where populations can experience improved quality of life through better-designed environments. These ambitious missions take nothing for granted as they attempt to rewrite the fundamental balance between good places to live and great places to go. 

Over the course of the next decade, PSFK researchers envision that people will sleep, play, shop and work in interconnected multi-building eco- systems with hundreds, if not thousands, of others. Residents will live communally and all be very close to one another, using shared objects, appliances, and services. Residents will also use shared spaces— sometimes as a group, sometimes alone or with friends and family, and the systems and architecture will co- ordinate and adapt as necessary to provide a sense of privacy.

Outside of Tempe, Arizona, the urban living and post-car real estate startup Culdesac is putting finishing touches on its planned car-free community built to let inhabitants live and shop without owning cars. The community has partnered with Bird and Lyft for transportation needs, along with local grocers and retailers. Culdesac’s vision of a transformational “post-car neighborhood” and urban environment is located across the Salt River from Phoenix. California-based Opticos is leading the master-plan for the project, which is designed to be “similar in character to a Greek, Italian, or French historic village, with irregular, narrow meandering paseos.” 

Culdesac features zero residential parking on a 16-acre infill site next to a light rail station. The car-free neighborhood is largely driven by innovative mobility technology that makes it easier for people to give up their car. The neighborhood will be 100% rental with zero ownership, providing a different approach to multifamily development and communal space. Newly built neighborhoods, houses, apartments and other spaces will be designed to cater for shared use and resident-forward service from the beginning. 

Because the project does not have to accommodate the car and all its myriad attachments, the design focus has been shifted to a greater appeal to urbanism and placemaking. Units are situated around vibrant courtyards that become the outdoor living rooms and center of community for Culdesac, and thoughtfully placed buildings and building elements deliver a sense of discovery. Because existing urban patterns have always been dominated by the accommodation of the automobile, Culdesac will be unlike anything built in the United States in the past 150 years and unlike anything ever built in the Phoenix region. The Culdesac board of directors includes co-founders of both Lyft and Doordash, and a top executive from Opendoor, the real estate company whose alumni are spearheading the Culdesac executive team. 

For those curious about trying their hand at car-free rental living, it’s possible to claim an advance spot on the city’s waitlist with a fully-refundable $100 reservation fee.


This article originally appeared in the PSFK iQ report, The Future of Home and Living