Geriatrician, Hospitalist, Patient Advocate, Healthcare Educator

A Car-free Walkable Community in the United States

Per Oliver Milman, in The Guardian, “People are happier in a walkable neighborhood’: the US community that banned cars”.

“If you were to imagine the first car-free neighborhood built from scratch in the modern US, it would be difficult to conceive such a thing sprouting from the environs of Phoenix, Arizona – a sprawling, concrete incursion into a brutal desert environment that is sometimes derided as the least sustainable city in the country.

But it is here that such a neighborhood, called Culdesac, has taken root. On a 17-acre site that once contained a car body shop and some largely derelict buildings, an unusual experiment has emerged that invites Americans to live in a way that is rare outside of fleeting experiences of college, Disneyland or trips to Europe: a walkable, human-scale community devoid of cars.

Culdesac ushered in its first 36 residents earlier this year and will eventually house around 1,000 people when the full 760 units, arranged in two and three-story buildings, are completed by 2025. In an almost startling departure from the US norm, residents are provided no parking for cars and are encouraged to get rid of them. The apartments are also mixed in with amenities, such as a grocery store, restaurant, yoga studio and bicycle shop, that are usually separated from housing by strict city zoning laws."

Driving to places has become a norm in this country unless you live in a major city downtown such as New York, Chicago, San Francisco. However, the cost of living there is up the roof. This new community is being bolserted as a “5 minute city”(meaning residents can reach all of their daily needs-stores, work, school, dining within 5 minutes by bike, on foot, or personal mobility device). It will be interesting to see how the health of the residents over the next few decades will compare to the rest of the country. This community will be encouraging walking, biking, and everyday social interactions.