Columbia is a planned community comprising 10 self-contained villages, located in Howard County, Maryland—the second wealthiest county in the United States, according to 2013 U.S. Census Bureau figures. It began with the idea that a city could enhance its residents' quality of life. Creator and developer James W. Rouse saw the new community in terms of human values, rather than merely economics and engineering. Opened in 1967, Columbia was intended to not only eliminate the inconveniences of then-current subdivision design, but also eliminate racial, religious, and class segregation.
Columbia has consistently ranked in the top ten of CNN Money's Best Places to Live in America.
Columbia proper consists only of that territory governed by the Columbia Association, but larger areas are included under its name by the U.S. Postal Service and the Census Bureau. These include several other communities which predate Columbia, including Simpsonville, Atholton, and in the case of the census, part of Clarksville. The census-designated place had a population of 103,683 according to 2013 Census estimates,〔(【引用サイトリンク】 title=Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Columbia CDP, Maryland )〕 making it the most populous community in Maryland after Baltimore.〔http://www.mdp.state.md.us/msdc/census/cen2000/PL94-171/ByCDP/cdp0090t.pdf〕
== History ==
Columbia's origins come from a crossroads in eastern Howard County formed by the Columbia Turnpike Road Company when it built a road from the Montgomery Courthouse to Baltimore called the "Columbia Road", now known as U.S. Route 29. A small post office at the crossroads of the turnpike and Old Annapolis Road (present-day MD 108) named "Columbia" opened on August 27, 1874, serving a population of 20 residents as late as 1912.〔(【引用サイトリンク】 url=http://www.postalmuseum.si.edu/statepostalhistory/Maryland_Post_Offices.pdf )〕〔(【引用サイトリンク】 url=http://collections.digitalmaryland.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/wcbb/id/17/rec/4 )〕 Developer and community associations prefer to acknowledge the completion of the first housing project in the 1960s as the foundation of "Columbia".
In 1932 Melvin J. Berman moved from Alabama to Howard County where he bought the Olney Acres dairy farm. Starting his own land development company, he built the Laurel Shopping Center, and later joined the shopping center development company, Community Research and Development, along with James Rouse. In 1961 Berman pursued his own Howard County for the company's next development. In 1962 Berman took interest in a parcel of land assembled by land developer Robert Moxley comprising four farm properties from the Carroll, Kahler, Wix, and his uncle James R. Moxley Sr's families. Close to were desired to create a parcel large enough for an envisioned 100,000-person development.
Jack Jones, an attorney from Rouse's firm of Piper Marbury set up a grid system to secretly buy land through dummy corporations like the "Alaska Iron Mines Company" to keep costs low. Some of these included Howard Research and Development Corporation, Columbia Industrial Development Corporation, 95-32 Corporation, 95-216 Corporation, Premble, Inc., Columbia Mall, Inc., Oakland Ridge Industrial Development Corporation, and Columbia Development Corporation. Moxley's firm Security Realty Company (now Security Development Group Inc), negotiated most of the land deals for Jones, becoming his best client.〔 CRD accumulated , 10 percent of Howard County, from 140 separate owners. Rouse was turned down in financing from David Rockefeller, who recently cancelled a planned Rouse "Village" concept Pocantico Hills. The $19,122,622 acquisition was then funded by Rouse's former employer Connecticut General Life Insurance in October 1962 at an average price of $1,500 per acre ($0.37/m²). The town center land of Oakland Manor was purchased from Isadore Guldesky who was turned down from building high-rises on the site by Rob Moxley's brother, County Commissioner and land developer Norman E. Moxley. Sensing that he had a key property, he requested $5 million for his 1000 acres, signing an agreement by hand on a land plat. The competition between Rouse and Guldesky carried over to the competing Tysons Corner Center and Tysons Galleria projects with each other hiring their competitor's employees.
By late 1962, citizens had elected an all-Republican three-member council. J. Hubert Black, Charles E. Miller, and David W. Force campaigned on a slow-growth ballot, but later approved the Columbia project. The Howard County Planning Commission Chairman Wilmer Sanner declared, "if this adds to the orderly development of the county, that's what we are looking for." That July Sanner sold the majority of his Simpsonville farm to Howard Research prior to the public announcement. In October 1963, the acquisition was revealed to the residents of Howard County, putting to rest rumors about the mysterious purchases. These had included theories that the site was to become a medical research laboratory or a giant compost heap. Despite the moniker of being a "planned city" the planning for the city occupied Rouse officials for most of 1964 after the announcement while marketing director Scott Ditch was brought from the Cross Keys development to promote the project to community groups.〔
In December 1964 the zoning was rejected by the planning director Tom Harris Jr. for handing nearly all planning control to the developer. A media push was instituted to approve the zoning by Dorris Thompson of The Howard County Times, Seymour Barondes of the Howard County Civic Association, and Anita Iribe of the League of Women Voters. In June 1965 zoning was approved for the project, and Howard Research and Development entered into a $37.5 million construction deed backed by the property.〔(【引用サイトリンク】 url=http://www.oag.state.md.us/Courts/1990/1990_04_16.pdf )〕 Development was temporarily stalled in October 1965 when James and Anna Hepding of Simpsonville sued the planning board stating New Town zoning was a form of Spot zoning benefiting a sole property owner. The case was dropped when developer Homer Gudelsky purchased the estate. Ten years later, Councilman Charles E. Miller stated that if he could do it over again, he wouldn't have approved Columbia. He felt exploited and felt the subsidized housing would become a problem for the rest of the county.
At this unveiling on 21 June 1967 James Rouse described Columbia as a planned new city which would avoid the leap-frog and spot development threatening the county. The new city would be complete with jobs, schools, shopping, and medical services, and a range of housing choices. Property taxes from commercial development would cover the additional services with which housing would burden the county. The urban planning process for Columbia included not only planners, but also a convened panel of nationally recognized experts in the social sciences, known as the Work Group. The fourteen member group of white men and one woman, Antonia Handler Chayes met for two days, twice a month, for half a year starting in 1963. The Work Group suggested innovations for planners in education, recreation, religion, and health care, as well as ways of improving social interactions. Columbia's open classrooms, interfaith centers, and the then-novel idea of a health maintenance organization (HMO) with a group practice of medical doctors (the Columbia Medical Plan) sprung from these meetings. The community's physical plan, with neighborhood and village centers, was also decided. Columbia's "New Town District" zoning ordinance gave developers great flexibility about what to put where, without requiring county approval for each specific project.
In 1968, Vice Presidential candidate, Spiro Agnew referenced Columbia to reporters "Government should act as a catalyst to encourage the local governments to encourage industry and business to move next to a planned community", "I want to lessen the density in the ghettos, and concurrently rebuild the ghetto areas". In 1969, County Executive Omar J. Jones felt that the increase in tax base was lagging behind the need for infrastructure as the operating budget doubled to $15 million in three years. Crime rates shot up around the county by 30-50% a year, with hot spots around the development. By 1970, the project required additional financing to continue, borrowing $30 million from Connecticut General, Manufacturers Hanover Trust, and Morgan Guaranty. In 1972, amendments to New Town zoning were proposed to place a maximum height for buildings and maintain the original density limit of 2.2 units per acre were opposed by Rouse allies including the Columbia Association, Ellicott City Businessman's Association and Columbia Democratic Club. By 1974, the amount owed reached $100,000 million, prompting partner Connecticut General to consider bankruptcy. An effort to create a special taxing district in 1978 and an effort to incorporate with a mayor in 1979 failed. In 1985 CIGNA (Connecticut General) divested itself of the project for $120 million. By 1990 Howard Research and Development owed $125,162,689.00>〔 In 2004 the project was sold to General Growth Properties which went bankrupt in 2008. General Growth Properties submitted a plan for increasing density throughout Columbia in 2004 which was unanimously voted down. Ownership of the project fell to the previous Rouse subsidiary The Howard Hughes Corporation. Howard Hughes submitted a new plan to increase density in 2010 under the Ulman administration that passed unanimously.
Columbia was never incorporated; some governance, however, is provided by the non-profit Columbia Association, which manages common areas and functions as a homeowner association with regard to private property. The first boards were filled entirely with Rouse Company appointees.〔 The first manager of the Columbia Association was John Estabrook Slayton (d. 1967). For Slayton's contributions to the early planning of Columbia, the community center in the Wilde Lake village, Slayton House, was named for him. Wilde Lake was the first village area to be developed in Columbia; accordingly, the town's first high school was Wilde Lake High School, which opened in 1971 as a "model school for the nation". Constructed in the open classroom style, it was razed in 1994 but reconstructed on the same site in 1996.
Two historic buildings in Columbia, Dorsey Hall and Woodlawn, were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. Both were once homes of prominent Howard County citizens. Most historic buildings, mills and plantations within Columbia that qualified for the register, such as Oakland Manor,〔(【引用サイトリンク】 url=http://mht.maryland.gov/nr/NRMapHO.html )〕 were not submitted by Rouse company affiliates.
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