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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. The village concept aimed to provide Columbia a small-town feel. Each village comprises several neighborhoods. The village center may contain middle and high schools. All villages have a shopping center, recreational facilities, a community center, a system of bike/walking paths, and homes.
Most of Columbia’s neighborhoods contain single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and apartments, though some are more exclusive than others. The original plan, following the neighborhood concept of Clarence Perry, would have had all the children of a neighborhood attend the same school, melding neighborhoods into a community and ensuring that all of Columbia’s children get the same high-quality education. In 2006, Money magazine ranked Columbia (together with Ellicott City, its neighbor to the north) #4 out of the 100 “Best Places to Live” in the United States. In 2008, Columbia and Ellicott City were ranked #8 on this list. In 2010, Columbia and Ellicott City were ranked #2 on this list. In 2012, Columbia and Ellicott City were ranked #8 on this list.
Recreation has always been an important part of the Columbia concept. There are three lakes (Lake Kittamaqundi, Lake Elkhorn, and Wilde Lake) surrounded by parkland for sailing, fishing, and boating; 80 miles (130 km) of paths for jogging, strolling and biking; and 148 tot lots and play areas. Nine village centers, 15 neighborhood centers, and four senior centers provide space for a large variety of community activities. Columbia also offers chamber music concerts, children’s programs, community outreach programs, master classes, and pre-concert lectures. The Mall in Columbia, located in Town Center, is a large regional shopping mall with five anchor department stores (Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, Sears, Macy’s, and JCPenney), a multiplex movie theater, and more than 200 stores and restaurants.
There are no schools near by this property.