Culdesac: A Walkable City!

Jan 25, 2024 By Micaiah B, Writer Intern
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Arizona, aka the Copper State, is the only place in the world where the saguaro cactus grows.

Recently, Arizona also became home to a city named Culdesac Tempe, based on the European-style 15-minute city.

What inspired the creation of this city, and how is Culdesac different from other x-minute cities? Let’s find out. 

What is Culdesac Tempe? 

A self-proclaimed 5-minute city located in Tempe, Arizona, Culdesac sets itself apart from other x-minute cities, as it was envisioned and designed as a car-free zone.

Laid out over 17 acres of land, Culdesac ensures residents have metropolitan conveniences in a smaller setting. The community will eventually have 760 apartments, a grocery store, a restaurant, and other amenities. Many details to enhance the residents’ experience are considered, such as utilizing small, paved walkways instead of asphalt (asphalt is a heat conductor) to reduce temperatures in the city. 

Rent ranges from $1,300 for a studio to $3,200 for a three-bedroom house, and Culdesac helps residents save money by providing free metro rail and bus rides, discounted Lyfts, and e-scooters around the city, to compensate for the lack of personal vehicles. While some residents have moved in, the city won’t be finished until 2025. For more information on 15-minute cities, read this article. 

Several residents have praised the closeness that Culdesac provides, giving them time to spend on hobbies instead of enduring the drudgery of traffic.

One resident, Vanessa Fox, said that living without a car is a dream of hers that Culdesac helped fulfill. Another resident, Robert Chaffeur, plans to enjoy the warm weather and community-oriented neighborhood. A common answer from the current inhabitants is that they have no regrets about trying the new community. 

What Makes Culdesac Different? 

More cities in the US are implementing measures to become more x-minute friendly. These developments are different from Culdesac though, because most are existing cities that are attempting to re-develop by building apartment complexes. Culdesac, however, is a neighborhood from the ground up - designed specifically to relieve our reliance on cars. 

Several factors inspired Culdesac co-founders Ryan Johnson and Jeff Berens, such as the demand for walkable neighborhoods, the desired health and well-being of residents, and living car-free while abroad. Mr. Johnson brought real estate knowledge and experience from living internationally, to prepare himself for the monumental task.

The founders of Culdesac aren’t just limiting themselves to Tempe. Their sights are on Denver, Dallas, Atlanta, Raleigh, and Washington. The fact that all these cities (except for Raleigh) are close to railroad tracks was a major factor in their decision, as they use the railroads to increase transportation options for the residents. Mr. Berens and Mr. Johnson are forging a path for other x-minute cities around the US and the world. 

Cities now get scores for x-minute friendliness. They’re ranked on walk and bike scores, safety, and access to amenities like hospitals, schools, and dining. The fact that urban planners are even considering these topics when ranking liveability is a step in the right direction. Let’s hope the trend continues, and officials will help make communities more pedestrian-friendly! 

Sources: Guardian,, Business Insider, NY Times, Bloomberg