Columbia is located in the heart of Howard County and has one of the most interesting stories on how it was created. James W. Rouse, the creator and developer of Columbia wanted to create a planned community that revolved around human values versus logistic. He wanted to eliminate racial, religious and class segregation within a community. He original design was to have 10 self-contained villages within Columbia that had all levels of socio-economic and religious statuses living in each village. Rouse also wanted town centers to be the heartbeat of each village where all members of the village congregated for all their needs. Although all 10 villages were not completed exactly with his philosophy behind it, at least 7 villages within Columbia reflect his original intent.


When you enter in Columbia you immediately see the differences. Forty percent of all the space in Columbia was designated to green space. So you will immediately notice the trees, walking paths, and lakes all around you.  In addition you will begin to see all the community amenities – tot lots, community centers, pools, shopping centers, and inter-faith buildings. As you drive through these villages you begin to pick up some of the less obvious differences like there are no signs for businesses unless they are on the buildings, so no golden arches will be seen. In addition you start to notice all the street signs sound like “mellow stream or babbling brook” or “pebble beach”. Finally you will notice that you may be surrounded by million dollar homes on one street and then turn the corner and see a 5 level condo building and then quickly enter into a townhome community. All socio-economic levels are present in each village.


The area around The Mall in Columbia or also known as the Lake Front area is what most would call the main central hub of Columbia. There is an outdoor music venue, one of the many lakes that is lined by restaurants and businesses, a large mall and residential homes. Columbia is recently seeing some amazing growth  with lots of construction and  improvements  going  on in  every location.   James Rouse should be proud if was able to see what Columbia has turned out to be. It is unlike any other city in the US.


Columbia Association:


History of Columbia:


Columbia Facebook page:


Full listing of things to do in Columbia:


Howard County Government:


Howard County Public 


Howard County Youth Programs: 


Howard County Parks and Recreation – Locations of parks, summer camps, sports schedules, activities, special events - 


Pools in Columbia: 


Gyms in Columbia:


Golf in Columbia:


Ice-cream stores in Ellicott City:


Restaurants in Ellicott City:


Places of Worship in and around Ellicott City:



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Data last updated: Jan 28, 2021 1:32:am.