Dream City: A Tale of Three Cities
Our historical look at Columbia draws context about the city's beginnings from old advertisements.
Columbia’s early advocates sang the praises of the new city’s closeness to two major metropolitan areas--Washington, D.C., and Baltimore--in print advertisements promoting the new city, according to collections in Columbia’s archives.
You can see from the ad copy that the public relations campaign sought to set Columbia apart from its big brothers to the northeast and southwest.
“Two of them are old hat,” the 1967 ad copy in The Washington Post reads. “One is brand new. The new city of Columbia.”
“It’s a city where you can buy an extra lightbulb or a vintage wine, play a set of tennis or find a private glade for napping. It’s the greatest story ever written. A best seller. Columbia is the next America.”
There has been a lot of talk around town about whether Columbia’s location to those two powerhouses has helped or hindered it.
Land use strategist Chris Leinberger, a Brookings Institution visiting fellow, recently told the Baltimore Sun that Columbia has managed to “skim growth from both Baltimore and Washington,” despite the city’s near fatal flaw of locating southwest of a major metropolitan area (Baltimore), rather than north of it, the more common model.
Leinberger spoke Wednesday at the Howard Hughes Corporation about communities that embody “walkable urbanism.”
Weigh in: Do you feel more of a connection to Baltimore, Washington, D.C., or Columbia? Where do you do most of your shopping, socializing and leisure activity?
See previous posts in the Dream City series: