Author Topic: "Less Cars, More Money: My Visit to the City of the Future"  (Read 981 times)

314159

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"Less Cars, More Money: My Visit to the City of the Future"
« on: April 10, 2023, 07:49:00 PM »
Original post is at: https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2023/04/07/car-free-cities/

The post is about the benefits of designing car-free and low-car cities, and specifically about a car-free development in Tempe, AZ called Culdesac. You can read more about Culdesac specifically in a 2020 NYT article or a piece in Citylab from last month.

MMM was so excited about it that he "is going to attempt to move there" himself at the end of 2023!*

I can't remember when I first heard about Culdesac (maybe linked in passing from a Strong Towns article, maybe CityLab, maybe YouTube), but I didn't know till now that it was actually under construction! Arizona is far too hot and desertsome for me, so I won't be moving there, but I hope the model succeeds, since I really believe the US (and the world) needs more neighborhoods like this! I especially hope the development and others like it can inspire the construction of walkable and livable areas on nearby parcels so that residents don't feel they're in a carfree island in a sea of cars.

*I wonder what will become of the MMM headquarters if/when Pete does move?

jac941

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Re: "Less Cars, More Money: My Visit to the City of the Future"
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2023, 10:18:11 PM »
Iím really excited about what Culdesac is doing even though in some ways itís a marketing gimmick. There are plenty of car free (zero parking) apartments in urban areas.

I would love to live in an actual car free (or car light) city with access to shops, restaurants, schools, parks, libraries, etc. So for this reason, I hope their model works well and they can scale to a whole community.

I live in a place where a car isnít needed and strongly prefer getting around without one. But the reality is that biking to some places is dangerous because of our road design, and certain areas still arenít transit accessible so itís limiting to not have a car. I feel like this project doesnít solve that - there are no schools for example, so it would still be a tough place to have kids. And you have to leave the community to get to most services.

But itís a start.

Freedomin5

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Re: "Less Cars, More Money: My Visit to the City of the Future"
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2023, 11:31:25 PM »
This idea is very similar to any number of housing compounds in large cities in China. The one I currently live in has about 1200 residents and is considered a small compound, made up of low-rises, stacked townhouses, and regular townhouses. There's one main lane down the middle of the compound, and most residents don't own cars. We use bikes, e-bikes, scooters, and walk to the compound gate to catch a taxi if we need to travel further. It's a 10-minute walk from the subway station, and there's a bus stop in front of the compound gate. It's a very convenient and relatively lower cost lifestyle. We have thoroughly enjoyed not owning a car for the past 10 years.

My friend lives in a large compound with over 10,000 residents. They have their own coffee shop, supermarket, indoor playground, several outdoor playgrounds, three swimming pools, tennis courts, indoor gym, etc. The school is right outside the compound gate. While cars can enter, they can only drive on the "ring road" that goes around the outside edge of the compound. Parking is mostly underground and eye-watering expensive. Even residents have to pay per day for parking. It really discourages you from owning a car.

roomtempmayo

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Re: "Less Cars, More Money: My Visit to the City of the Future"
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2023, 09:19:25 AM »
The school is right outside the compound gate.

It's interesting to me that in China these developments are gated.

I'll be curious what the reaction is the first time a homeless person decides all of this nice walking infrastructure in Culdesac is a great place to pitch his tent and set up shop.  What's the policing/security plan? 

I find the idea of walkable communities very attractive, but I think the planners often mistake cars for the cause of problems when really they are a symptom.  Cars and commuting are a way of avoiding social ills and hoarding resources in the US.  Everything else is downstream.

If these communities are going to work, they're going to need to fulfill that function of avoiding social ills and hoarding resources for residents.  A literally or effectively gated community with an exclusive public school would do it, but I don't see that in the plans.

314159

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Re: "Less Cars, More Money: My Visit to the City of the Future"
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2023, 09:47:47 AM »
Iím really excited about what Culdesac is doing even though in some ways itís a marketing gimmick. There are plenty of car free (zero parking) apartments in urban areas.

Definitely. We need more housing in our cities, and the only way to get that is with higher density. Higher density isn't doable without reducing the cars per person ratio, but it's very difficult to do in the US (and elsewhere) under current zoning/parking minimums/etc. My hope is developments like this can demonstrate that there is 1) demand for what they're selling and 2) that it can be attractive and pleasant, maybe winning over people who are on the fence of the YIMBY/NIMBY divide.

I live in a place where a car isnít needed and strongly prefer getting around without one. But the reality is that biking to some places is dangerous because of our road design, and certain areas still arenít transit accessible so itís limiting to not have a car.

Another dream of mine is that a larger constituency of people who are car independent will create greater political will for more bike/transit/walking infrastructure. Which could start a virtuous cycle (see what I did there?) attracting more people to carfree living.