“What Columbia stands for, he observes, is that “the accommodation of urban growth can be a rational process.”
Later in the article, reporter Len Lazarick writes:
“The planning began in 1963, and according to a speech by Rouse in 1967, four main objectives were set: (1) to build a better city – not just a better suburb, but a complete new city; (2) to respect the land; (3) to provide the best possible environment for the growth of people; (4) to make a profit.”
“From his work, he [Rouse] concluded that ‘the problem of the city and the problem of the suburbs was one of scale, of absence of place, of absence of physical for of community which could allow community to unfold among people.’ ”
At this time in Columbia’s history, Mr. Rouse was not the only official in the Rouse Company speaking about downtown Columbia. In a 1978 Columbia Flier article, then General Manager of Howard Research and Development Corporation, Michael D. Spear (as in the Spear Center) said:
“He [Spear] noted that in Columbia’s town center, which includes all the land east of Governor Warfield Parkway to Route 29, only about 1.5 million square feet of office and commercial space has been built, and 6 or 7 million square feet is planned. “You’re not even a quarter developed,” he pointed out.”
Just a few months later, Alton Scavo, the Director of Design for Howard Research and Development Corporation, was quoted in the same paper saying:
“Downtown Columbia is meant to be a true downtown – not just the heart of Columbia, but the urban hub for a real city between Washington and Baltimore.”
A few years later, Morton Hoppenfeld, the man for whom “the hug” statue is dedicated, reflected on Columbia Town Center in the publication Little Patuxent Review. In this article, Mr. Hoppenfeld states:
“Allow me to list for you some of the ingredients necessary to attain the downtown we would all enjoy in Columbia:
…Downtown needs apartments and condos: At high density within walking distance – on top of things like shops and offices. This is hard to accomplish, but HRD knows how. They may need help with zoning.”
Having grown up in Columbia, I know that not all these men were held in the same high regard as Mr. Rouse, but in this relatively short period of time, we find all of them describing downtown in the same way: An accommodation of urban growth, a city – not just a suburb, at high density, an urban hub.
Keep in mind, I am not advocating for downtown Columbia to become Shanghai, but we should look a little harder at what Rouse, and those employed by Rouse, had to say about downtown.