Columbia in reality was the outcome of a social experiment conducted radically in the time of Jim Crow laws which focused on creating a planned community in the region of rural Maryland that would house people belonging to all races, classes or region. This happened somewhat 40 years ago and today Columbia has become a town that houses 100,000 people and is considered one of the most idealistic suburbs in America.

How Did Columbia Come Into Existence?

Columbia was created with one idea, to enhance the quality of life for all its residents and to create a new community that would value human life more than economics and engineering. Columbia intended to eradicate all inconveniences caused by racial, class and religious segregation and to develop a community where all would live and work for the success of the town.

Columbia originated from eastern Howard County that was actually formed by a company named the Columbia Turnpike Road which built a road that led from Montgomery Courthouse to Baltimore and w as referred to Columbia Road. It is today known as the US Route 29. In 1874 the population of this small town happened to be less than 20 people who were served by a single post office in the region.

The first housing and development project in the region was completed in 1960s and laid the foundation of the modern day Columbia.

Melvin J. Berman started his own land development company in the region when he moved to Howard County from Alabama in 1932. Melvin built the Laurel Shopping Center and then moved on to acquiring almost 15000 acres of land to create a settlement project for about 100,000 people.

Jack Jones, an attorney from Piper Marbury firm set up a dedicated grid station system in the region to keep costs low so that he could secretly acquire land and focus on land development projects in the region.

The Master Plan For Columbia

To achieve all goals that had been set forth by the working groups in Columbia, a master plan was called for. it consisted of ten self contained villages which would easily accommodate the day to day lifestyle and also focused on the building of the Mall in Columbia and the Lake Kittamaqundi. The villages would have several neighborhoods self sufficient with middle and high schools, shopping centers and recreational facilities for all its residents.

Columbia Today

Columbia, the planned community in Maryland consists of 10 self contained small villages and is considered the second wealthiest county in America. There are more plans for expansion of the town and revitalization of the downtown in Columbia over the next three decades. Neighborhood design guidelines, public amenities, infrastructure and environmental restoration projects are well under way in the region.

Downtown Columbia revitalization plans are also calling for projects that help save water and energy resources in the region and help preservation of the ecology. Non-profit housing schemes are focusing on building about 5500 units of low income houses for people belonging to middle and lower classes in the region.

Without a doubt, Columbia is one of the most affordable, peaceful and idealistic community for all who want to lead a comfortable life today.

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