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A Suburban Success Story

The suburban, master planned community of Columbia, Maryland is many of the things urbanists hope their cities will become.
August 2, 2017, 10am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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The Mall in Columbia
The Mall in Columbia is located in the Town Center.
Payton Chung

Amanda Kolson Hurley reports on a "suburban experiment" that offers lessons for cities. "In an era when city living is virtually synonymous with cool, Columbia, Md., emanates suburban uncool," writes Kolson Hurley. The community flies in the face of almost everything Jane Jacobs cherished about cities, but "as Columbia marks the 50th anniversary since the first residents moved in, it has become clear that [Columbia developer James] Rouse got some important things right."

Kolson Hurley describes Rouse's approach to the project as a response to the "soulless sprawl" that defined most suburban construction of the 1970s. Rouse was "ahead of his time," according to the article, "in his pursuit of an ecologically sensitive, mixed-income and colorblind community in an era when redlining was common. And Columbia’s success on those fronts stands out next to most of the planned communities that came after it."

Among the other successes now apparent in Columbia, 50 years after its creation: prosperity and racial and economic integration that shouldmake New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. blush. 

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Published on Thursday, July 13, 2017 in The Washington Post
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