Autumn on Lake Thoreau

Autumn on Lake Thoreau
Showing posts with label Columbia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Columbia. Show all posts

Monday, December 9, 2013

We could have had a "central park" too....

A major Washington Post article yesterday highlights how Columbia, MD, the region's other major planned community, is planning to bring a central park to its downtown area.  In an article, "A plan to bring play to Columbia, MD", reporters
Dan Beyers and Jonathan O’Connell quote Michael McCall, president of the Inner Arbor Trust, a group working to refashion Columbia's Symphony Woods into something more, as follows:
“Employers follow employees and employees follow lifestyle,” McCall said. “We have excellent schools and one of the country’s leading library systems, but we need to broaden upon that to satisfy the needs of the 30-year-old professional who is in high demand.”
Wow!  What a refreshing view of what makes a community successful:  "Employers follow employees and employees follow lifestyle."

In Reston, the developer-dominated Reston Task Force position has been and continues to be to build as much office space as can be stuffed into Reston's station areas, even as the demand for office space per worker plummets.  Instead of a substantial central park in North Town Center (RCA has consistently proposed 20 acres or larger) as a major attraction for both families and businesses to settle in Town Center, the current draft plan calls for seven acres of town green --only two more acres of park land than current exist there.

More broadly, developers are trying to limit the allocation of land in areas they develop.  Until the next-to-last draft of the master plan, the draft plan called for a "minimum" of 20 percent open space.  The developer-led effort degraded that standard to a "goal," which is likely rarely, if ever, to be met.  So much for lifestyle and quality of life. 

So instead of employers following employees who are following lifestyle, Reston is looking at developers pushing employment into Reston's station areas in the expectation (in direct opposition to the evidence) that employees will follow no matter the lifestyle.  The closest comparison to this approach is Arlington's Crystal City, chock-o'-block full of office buildings with new efforts to stuff residential buildings into the area even in the absence of substantial open space.

Click here to read the Post's full article.  

And, by the way, we need to work on developing "one of the country's leading library systems."  Thanks to the efforts of a few dozen committed citizens, we have stopped the hemorrhaging, but now the County needs to correct the flawed thinking and budgeting of a half-dozen years to bring the County's libraries up to reasonable standards, much less "leading" standards. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Howard Council Approves Plan for Redeveloping Columbia, Washington Post, February 3, 2010

By Larry Carson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 3, 2010; B05

Fans of a plan to urbanize central Columbia celebrated Tuesday at the cold, snowy statues of founder James W. Rouse and his brother, Willard, on the frozen shores of Lake Kittamaqundi. The two thick bills creating the zoning for the 30-year project were approved unanimously Monday night by the five-member Howard County Council.

Supporters of the six-year effort to craft a redevelopment plan believe they have laid out a path for the 43-year-old nationally known planned town to gradually recover a cutting-edge feel and attract thousands more residents and business owners to what has slipped into a comfortable but stodgy suburban malaise.

"This is the first day of an exciting new future," David Yungmann told a crowd of about 35 shivering celebrants. "This is what we've been waiting for."

General Growth Properties' plan allows up to 5,500 new residences, 4.3 million square feet of offices, hotels, 1.25 million square feet of retail, 20-story buildings, a renovated Merriweather Post Pavilion, an affordable-housing program, and cultural and transit-oriented amenities....

For the rest of this article, click here.