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Poll: Is Columbia'sTown Center Boring?

Redevelopment plans have been approved to make Columbia's town center more urban, but right now, do you think town center is boring?

 

It would appear Columbia's Town Center, which is about to undergo a major rebirth, has been getting some flack.

“I prefer the word tired to describe Columbia’s aging downtown,” wrote blogger Dennis Lane in a recent post at Tales of Two Cities.

The corporate chains populating the mall and the town center area are common throughout suburban America and the huge parking lots surrounding the shopping centers are rarely filled.

Lane, however, says the town center represents the future of Columbia as planned redevelopment begins in the city. Like cities all across America, Columbia is trying to reinvent itself into a walkable and bike-able city.

Jessie Newburn, director of communications and community engagement at the Columbia Association, told the Huffington Post last month in an article about expanding her social network that she loves the community, “But it’s also really, really, really boring. We don’t have any dance clubs. We don’t have a lot of music venues.”

Christopher Leinberger, a professor of urban design at the University of Michigan, wrote about how more expensive housing is moving towards pedestrian-friendly areas in inner suburbs and cities, in a November op-ed published in the New York Times.

“In the late 1990s, high-end outer suburbs contained most of the expensive housing in the United States," he wrote. “Simply put, there has been a profound structural shift—a reversal of what took place in the 1950s, when drivable suburbs boomed and flourished as center cities emptied and withered.”

But as the city waits for the redevelopment process to get underway, do you think the current town center is boring?

Alice K E Marks March 07, 2012 at 10:35 PM
I find it disappointing that the mere mention of rental apartments and anything urban strikes fear into the hearts of columbians. It seems that we are all too ready to dismiss "other people" - non-homeowners, non-middle and -upper class - and make that narrowness an easy excuse for the lack of vitality in Columbia. I find it sad that the often hyperbolic golems of our neighboring cities - Baltimore and DC - make people believe that things urban are the same as things criminal. What a sad world to live in!  I, for one, would welcome an indie movie theatre (like The Charles), a radical coffee shop (like Red Emma's), or an uninterrupted stroll (like in Bolton Hill). Why must we limit ourselves to a fundamental misunderstanding of what makes a city? Why must we reject what Rouse wanted, which was the welcome of diversity and the celebration of culture?  Yes, I'm in my mid twenties. I live here too!
Peter Tocco March 08, 2012 at 01:01 AM
Anyone concerned about Columbia's downtown might want to attend the HoCo budget hearing on Mar 14, 7 pm. One topic on the agenda is whether HoCo should budget money for an engineering study for Bridge Columbia, which would connect Oakland Mills and East Columbia with the west. Learn more at www.bridgecolumbia.org. See you there!
JH March 08, 2012 at 01:52 PM
No need to increase density to please developers and elected leaders that need campaign contributions. I agree that there are already plenty of rental units in Howard County. Add positive healthy activities and environment - friendly spaces. Make Columbia a safe and clean place for families.
Melissa August 17, 2012 at 01:58 AM
I'm with you! Columbia has an aging population, and that will continue unless there are more attractions for those of us in our twenties. I read the Columbia Flier and there are 100+ activities for seniors, but just a couple dozen for anyone who's over 18 and under 65. Columbia is nice, but it lacks the life, the pulse that brings young people in.

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