Columbia, Maryland Named the Best Small City in America by Money Magazine
Columbia is one of the principal cities of the Baltimore/Washington Metropolitan Area. It is a planned community consisting of 10 self-contained villages. It began with the idea that a city could enhance its residents’ quality of life.
The village concept aimed to provide Columbia a small-town feel (like Easton, Maryland, where James Rouse grew up). 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. Four of the villages have interfaith centers, common worship facilities which are owned and jointly operated by a variety of religious congregations working together. Most of Columbia’s neighborhoods contain single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and apartments, though some are more exclusive than others.
Columbia’s top ranked public schools are operated by the Howard County Public School System. There are no conventional four-year colleges or universities in Columbia, but several other college-level programs have facilities there. The renowned Howard Community College is located near the town center, while the University of Phoenix, American Career Institute, Lincoln College of Technology, Loyola University Maryland, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Maryland University of Integrative Health, and Johns Hopkins University have facilities on the east side of town at Columbia Gateway Business Park. Howard County Public Library is consistently top rated among the nation’s public library systems according to Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings (HAPLR).
Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman likes to say he grew up with Columbia. He has watched the community go from vision to reality.
“We’re very excited. It’s something we’ve known forever, that Columbia is one of the best places to live in the world, but now the rest of the country knows,” Kittleman said. “It was Jim Rouse’s vision to build Columbia almost 50 years ago. Next year will be Columbia’s 50th birthday. I’m sure he would be a very proud person to know that the city he planned is now the best place to live in America. It’s the vision of Jim Rouse to bring people from all incomes, all races and all ethnic groups together, and it really has proven to be successful here. Columbia just continues to attract people because of the warmth of the people who live here and the amenities that people have to enjoy.
“We have 3,600 acres of open space and 94 miles of pathways. We have the greatest schools in the world here in Howard County,” Kittleman said. “We have one of the best community colleges, Howard Community College, in the country right here in Columbia. We have a premier hospital, Howard County General Hospital, here in Columbia. We have Merriweather Post Pavilion. We have the greatest library system in North America. We are growing. We have a downtown that’s becoming more urbanized, which is what we always needed in Howard County.” Click here to read the article.