The 'world's first post-car development' is being built in Arizona — here's what it will look like

Opticos/Hugo RenderCommunal spaces will be built for the residents to fulfil needs without using a car.
  • A car-free development, by real estate developer Culdesac and architecture firm Optico, is being built in Arizona and will house 1,000 people.
  • All of the homes will be walking distance from amenities and community areas, such as grocery stores, bars, and bookable communal spaces.
  • The 16-acre community includes 24,000 square feet of retail spaces.
  • It’s slated to be finished in Fall 2020.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Culdesac – working with architecture firm Optico – is creating the “world’s first post-car development” that will be completed in the fall of next year.

The neighbourhood – which won’t have any parking for private cars – will be in Tempe, Arizona, which was chosen because of its growing number of jobs and population, and available land near a light rail station.

The only parking spaces will be for visitors and ridesharing. Instead of private cars, transportation options in the community will include: a shuttle bus, rideshare pick up areas, scooters, and a light rail station that can reach downtown Tempe, Phoenix, and an airport.

“We’re not trying to force people to live a lifestyle that they don’t want to live, but I think it is really about providing a choice,” Optico’s Founding Principal Daniel Parolek told Business Insider.

There are two surprising market segments that this car-free and car-light community appeals to: millenials and the silent generation. About 62% of millenials and 55% of the “silent generation” – the segment preceding baby boomers – have expressed that they want to live in a more walkable environment, according to a study by the National Association of Realtors. The same study found that millenials, over any other generational segment, prefer walking over driving.

Keep scrolling to see what the neighbourhood will look like:


The project will cost about $US140 million and Culdesac has raised $US10 million in venture capital funding.

“Starting next year, residents of Culdesac Tempe will be able to live life from their doorsteps, rather than seeing it through their windshields,” Culdesac CEO Ryan Johnson said in a prepared statement. He claims the community is for the “post-car era.”


The community will be completed in the fall of 2020.

“[Culdesac Tempe] is similar in character to a Greek, Italian, or French historic village with irregular, narrow meandering paseos, a hierarchy of public spaces, and thoughtfully placed buildings and building elements that deliver a sense of discovery as you make your way through the project,” Opticos wrote on its website.

Culdasec claims to be the first company to ever plan car-free communities and believes recent real estate designs have failed to keep up with changes in mobility, mainly the evolution beyond the constant need for cars.

“People are ready to leave their cars behind for the walkable and vibrant lifestyle that comes from living in a car-free neighbourhood,” Culdesac COO Jeff Berens said in a statement.


The neighbourhood will accommodate 1,000 residents with 636 units and seven different types of residential buildings.

The residential units are built in an unconvential courtyard housing style that is “desert responsive,” according to Parolek.

The housing units have also been optimised for Tempe’s desert climate. Reisdents can open windows on both sides of their units for cross-ventilization. Western and southern windows also have shading, along with courtyards and the footpaths.

“We think very carefully about the four solar orientations,” Parolek told Business Insider.

It’s being built from the ground up and makes history as the first agreement between a city and a real estate developer to build a zero residential parking community, according to Culdesac, which will also serve as the property manager.

Culdesac claims that the 16-acre community will have three times more green space than typical developments that are typically built around the parking lots.

Of the space, 24,000 square feet of land will be set aside for retail. There will also be ample courtyards and community areas, which will include gyms, pools, and bookable spaces.

“From an architect’s perspective, it’s unlike anything we’ve designed before, and also unlike anything that’s been built before,” Parolek continued. “We do feel that it is a game changer. It’s really the type of project we’ve been looking for in 20 years of my firm’s existence.”

Culdesac is now looking into more cities for a similar project, including Dallas, Denver, and Raleigh-Durham, according to the developer.

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