A 1,000-person rental development underway in Tempe, Ariz., will be a carfree zone. Tenants’ leases will not allow cars parked onsite or in the surrounding area. The development is testing the demand for walkable neighborhoods, which young adults claim they desire. The Arizona development will be urging residents to ditch their cars and take advantage of bikes, scooters, ride-hailing, and nearby public transit.
Culdesac Tempe will consist of three-story buildings and, instead of parking spaces, will feature retail and open spaces, such as communal fire pits. The development is near a light rail station that will connect residents to Arizona State University, downtown Phoenix, and the airport.
“Transportation has changed a lot over the last decade and real estate hasn’t kept up,” Ryan Johnson, co-founder and chief executive of the Culdesac development, told The Wall Street Journal. “Now there’s the chance for us to build the first post-car development.”
A 2010 survey by the National Association of Home Builders showed 60% of home buyers say they want to live in a walkable neighborhood.
Young adults like to drive less and have been leading the calls for greater walkable neighborhoods. Fewer 16-year-olds are getting their drivers licenses. In 2017, only about a quarter of 16-year-olds had a driver’s license, down from half in 1983, according to a study by transportation researcher Michael Sivak.
Culdesac developers hope to use the Tempe project as a model for other parts of the country, such as Denver and Dallas.
But not everyone believes carfree neighborhoods will take off.
“‘Quirky’ is probably the right word,” Robert Dietz, chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders, told The Wall Street Journal. “People are more adaptable in terms of taking Uber and public transport, but a lot of households still want one car.”