Livable, But Not Affordable

Columbia, MD, a planned community developed by the Rouse Co. in 1967, is experiencing an affordable housing shortage.
September 22, 2003, 9am PDT | Connie Chung
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"Thirty-six years after Rouse developed Columbia as a town where anyone could live--regardless of race or economic background--the planned community may have become too successful to maintain that vision. The high demand to live in the community of 96,000 residents means not just anyone can afford to live there anymore. Decent townhouses cost in the $200,000s, and standard single-family homes sell in the $300,000s....Those high prices also keep out many of the area's teachers, police officers and service workers, who should be able to live alongside Columbia's wealthier residents....But even in the beginning of the planned community, Columbia's vision of economic diversity was questioned. In 1967...the community's housing prices--$19,750 for the cheapest home and $128 for the lowest monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment--were too costly for people with low incomes."

Thanks to Connie Chung

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Published on Wednesday, September 17, 2003 in The Baltimore Sun

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