What would it be like to walk out of your home and see other people instead of cars? Can you imagine opening your door and letting your kids run around outside independently? Residents of Cully Green — a 23-home community in Portland, Oregon developed specifically to encourage a car-free or car-light way of life — don’t have to imagine it. They’re living a life more akin to the idealized version of the suburbs of the past than the reality often found across the country today. Why are developments like this so unusual? Because in most of America it’s illegal to build thanks to single-family zoning. So is Cully Green the kind of thing that could only work in Portland because, you know… Portland? Or is this a model for building better cities and better communities all across the country?
You can find the full transcript of this episode here.
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More about living at Cully Green and Cully Grove, including the bees and chickens.
14 urban planners weigh in on the single-family zoning debate. (Sidewalk Talk)
Community advocacy group Living Cully works to keep the neighborhood affordable and accessible.
Questioning the single-family ideal. (New York Times)
Rethinking the American Dream. (Washington Post)
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This episode was produced by Sarah Goodyear and edited by Ali Lemer. Our music is by Nathaniel Goodyear. Our logo is by Dani Finkel of Crucial D.
Find us on Twitter: @TheWarOnCars, Doug Gordon @BrooklynSpoke, Sarah Goodyear @buttermilk1, Aaron Naparstek @Naparstek.
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Sounds pretty nice.
This was a very interesting episode. I live on a small block in South Philadelphia. There are about 40 houses on each side of the street with lots of kids, grandparents, singles, renters and owners, etc. There are no driveways, since it’s all attached. We don’t have much in terms of yards and we do still have cars going down the street, but everything about this episode is how we live. There’s no HOA, but we do talk to each other and help each other out as neighbors. It’s 19th century housing for the 21st century!
That sounds awesome too! In most of Portland, like in most of the United States, it’s still illegal to build South Philly. So the whole “confined to a single lot” thing about Cully Green — the risk that I mentioned to Sarah of it becoming an enclave — is in large part a result of that.
It’d be way better if people could choose their own level of interaction with neighbors, and the sort of buildings that would facilitate that, rather than being forced (by zoning) into something as formally entwined as our Cully Green community.