The world’s first post-car real estate developer, Culdesac, today announced the company and its plans to build the country’s first car-free neighborhood from scratch in Tempe, AZ. Residents will not have private cars or parking, although the neighborhood will accommodate parking for visitors, and car-based modes of transportation, such as ridesharing. Unlike small-scale, incidental car-free communities—like old town centers or islands—Culdesac is the first developer to intentionally build a 1,000 person neighborhood-scale, car-free development from scratch.
Culdesac believes that real estate innovation has failed to keep up with fast-paced changes in mobility. Transportation has evolved beyond car dependency— real estate has not. Culdesac is changing this paradigm and today announced detailed plans for its first neighborhood, a $140 million project called Culdesac Tempe. The company also announced it has raised $10 million in venture capital funding to invest into its corporate operations led by Khosla Ventures, as well as Initialized Capital, Zigg Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Y Combinator.
“The communities we are living in were optimized for the peak car era,” said Ryan Johnson, Co-Founder and CEO of Culdesac. “Culdesac is building spaces for the post-car era. Starting next year, residents of Culdesac Tempe will be able to live life from their doorsteps, rather than seeing it through their windshields.”
The Tempe project marks the nation’s first and only agreement between a city and a developer to build a neighborhood-scale community with zero residential parking. The plans for Culdesac Tempe show a walkable neighborhood directly on a light rail station and near a dense job center in downtown Tempe. In typical developments, the parking lots often dictate the design—and without this constraint, Culdesac Tempe is able to offer three times the average amount of green space, along with friendly courtyards and community spaces.
Because less land is needed to park vehicles, Culdesac Tempe will include a grocery store, coffee shop, coworking space, market hall, and other retail, in addition to rental apartments for 1,000 residents. To help bring this vision to life, the Culdesac team is working closely with renowned architect Dan Parolek, who popularized the term “Missing Middle Housing,” a concept for diverse housing options to create sustainable and walkable places.
When the 1,000 residents of Culdesac Tempe need to travel, they can choose their preferred modes of transportation. The development is centered around the mobility needs of residents, with on-site light rail station, a connective shuttle bus, dedicated rideshare pick-up zones, scooters with respective parking, carshares for off-site transport, and more. Culdesac will additionally serve as the neighborhood’s property manager, helping residents get the most out of their new community by enabling seamless access to transportation and amenities.
“We have found the Culdesac team to be true partners with our city council and its neighborhood communities, and we look forward to bringing the country’s first car-free community to life in our city,” said Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell.
The Tempe site was chosen for the first car-free neighborhood due to the city’s thriving job market, growing population, and land available directly on a light rail station. Additionally, local leadership has a reputation for being innovative, forward-thinking, and action-oriented. Culdesac is evaluating locations for additional projects, including in cities such as Dallas, Denver, and Raleigh-Durham.
“Because the power of transportation innovation is larger at scale, we’re considering 50-100 acre sites for our next project,” said Jeff Berens, Co-Founder and COO of Culdesac. “People are ready to leave their cars behind for the walkable and vibrant lifestyle that comes from living in a car-free neighborhood.”