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2020 Award Winners



The Game Changer


Culdesac Tempe: A Car-Free Community


Tempe, Arizona

Architect/Designer | Opticos Design

Builders | Wespac | Porchlight Homes

Developers | Culdesac | Sunbelt Holdings

Land Planner | Opticos Design

Landscape Architect/Designer | Floor Associates

Photographers | Rayvat Engineering | Zanetta Illustration

When built in late 2021, this 15.5-acre, 636-unit acre project will be the first car-free community built from scratch in the United States. No residential parking is provided, but the project is mobility rich with adjacency to light rail, ample bike parking, integrated rideshare, and on-site carshare.

The project also introduces a unique, desert-responsive multifamily product type and placemaking: a palette of walk-up, two- to three-story buildings, each with no more than eight units thoughtfully oriented around a series of shaded, semi-private, shared courtyards. The unit sizes range from 685 to 1200 sf. Bookable (hourly/daily) spaces, such as studio units for guest and flex working spaces, are distributed throughout the plan to enable comfortable, small-space living. The site plan delivers a compact, desert-responsive pattern, providing a sense of discovery through a fine-grain, network of narrow, shaded, pedestrian-only paseos, intimate courtyard spaces, and a main central plaza activated by 16,000 sf of retail, including a small grocer, a co-working space, a coffee shop, restaurant, and food trucks. The project is entitled and demand is strong, with more than 100 percentof the 130 Phase 1 units having deposits.

From the Judges
This is a game-changing piece. It’s successful in an area you wouldn't expect to be successful as car-free. The judges noted that the development overcame several challenges (zoning, utilities) and solved a complex puzzle.

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