Could you live in a place where cars are banned?
If you rely on your car to get you around, it’s hard to imagine living in a place where you can’t even drive one. But as these communities will show, it’s entirely possible, and, perhaps, a more ideal lifestyle. Less pollution, more community, relative peace and quiet, more exercise, better public transportation — the benefits of car-free living are astounding. Check out just a handful of the many car-free communities across the world.
1. Venice, Italy
Gondolas and water taxis are the main form of transportation in this historic city. This makes it quite unique in Europe — it’s a functioning and sizable 21st century city that doesn’t rely on motorized vehicles. In fact, it’s the largest urban car-free area on the continent.
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2. Ilha Grande, Brazil
This tropical island is largely undeveloped, and home to some of the largest populations of a number of endangered species. The nearly 2,000 residents of the island’s largest village are encouraged to work in small-scale ecotourism.
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3. Times Square, New York City
Times Square became a pedestrian plaza few years ago, catering to the average 250,000 tourists that flock to the area every day. And, surprise, surprise, pollution is down considerably!
4. Fez el Bali, Morocco
More than 150,000 people reside in Fez el Bali, the oldest neighborhood in the Morocco city of Fez, making it purported to be the largest car-free area in the world. The area is walled, and the car-free zone really is a matter of practicality — the old streets can be so narrow, vehicles can’t always fit!
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5. Bhaktapur, Nepal
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bhaktapur was the capital of Nepal until the 15th Century. Today, the car-free streets of the city, along with the strong ties to the indigenous traditional culture, make Bhaktapur a truly historic city.
6. Mackinac Island, Michigan
Mackinac Island is home to the only state highway in the U.S. where vehicles are prohibited. A tourist destination in Lake Huron, residents and visitors travel by bicycle, foot, or horse drawn carriage.