Columbia

One Of The Best Cities To Live In America

Columbia is a census-designated place in Howard County, Maryland, United States, and is one of the principal communities of the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area. It is a planned community consisting of 10 self-contained villages.

Columbia began with the idea that a city could enhance its residents’ quality of life. Creator and developer James W. Rouse saw the new community in terms of human values, rather than merely economics and engineering. Opened in 1967, Columbia was intended to not only eliminate the inconveniences of then-current subdivision design, but also eliminate racial, religious and class segregation. Columbia has consistently ranked in the top 10 of CNN Money’s Best Places to Live in the United States.

Columbia proper consists only of that territory governed by the Columbia Association, but larger areas are included under its name by the U.S. Postal Service and the Census Bureau. These include several other communities which predate Columbia, including Simpsonville, Atholton, and in the case of the census, part of Clarksville. The census-designated place had a population of 99,615 at the 2010 United States Census. It is the second most populous community in Maryland after Baltimore. More recent estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey put the population at approximately 103,467 as of 2015.

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Columbia was founded by James W. Rouse (1914-1996), a native of Easton, Maryland. In 1935, Rouse obtained a job in Baltimore with the Federal Housing Administration, a New Deal agency whose purpose was to promote home ownership and home construction. This position exposed Rouse to all phases of the housing industry. Later in the 1930s he co-founded a Baltimore mortgage banking business, the Moss-Rouse Company. In the 1950s his company, by then known as James W. Rouse and Company, branched out into developing shopping centers and malls. In 1957 Rouse formed Community Research and Development, Inc. (CRD) for the purpose of building, owning and operating shopping centers throughout the country. Community Research and Development, Inc., which was managed by James W. Rouse and Company, became a publicly traded company in 1961. In 1966, Community Research and Development, Inc. changed its name to The Rouse Company, after it had acquired James W. Rouse and Company in exchange for company stock.

By the early 1950s Rouse was also active in organizations whose goals were to combat blight and promote urban renewal. Along the way, he came to recognize the importance of comprehensive planning and action to address housing issues. A talented public speaker, Rouse's speeches on housing matters attracted media attention. By the mid-1950s he was espousing his belief that in order to be successful, cities had to be places where people succeeded. In a 1959 speech he declared that the purpose of cities is for people, and that the objective of city planning should be to make a city into neighborhoods where men, women, and their families can live and work, and, most importantly, grow in character, personality, religious fulfillment, brotherhood, and the capacity for joyous living.

In the early 1960s, Rouse decided to develop a new model city. Rouse's ideas about what a new model city should be like were informed by a number of factors, including his personal Christian faith as well as the goal for his company to earn a profit, influences that he did not consider to be incompatible with one another. After exploring possible new city locations near Atlanta, Georgia, and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, Rouse focused his attention between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., in Howard County, Maryland.

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Q2 2019
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$345.0k
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RATING* SCHOOL NAME GRADES SCHOOL TYPE
3 Longfellow Elementary School Preschool - 5th Grade Public
3 Bryant Woods Elementary School Preschool - 5th Grade Public
2 Phelps Luck Elementary School Preschool - 5th Grade Public
4 Waterloo Elementary School Preschool - 5th Grade Public
3 Talbott Springs Elementary School Preschool - 5th Grade Public
N/A Florida Connections Academy Kindergarten - 8th Grade Public
3 Jeffers Hill Elementary School Kindergarten - 5th Grade Public
3 Wilde Lake Middle School 6th Grade - 8th Grade Public
2 Wilde Lake High School 9th Grade - 12th Grade Public
4 Atholton High School 9th Grade - 12th Grade Public
2 Oakland Mills High School 9th Grade - 12th Grade Public
2 Long Reach High School 9th Grade - 12th Grade Public
N/A Columbia Academy Elementary & Middle School Preschool - 8th Grade Private/Charter
N/A Kindercare Private/Charter
N/A Childrens Manor School Preschool - Kindergarten Private/Charter
N/A Columbia Montessori School Preschool - 1St Grade Private/Charter
N/A Bryant Woods Montessori Childrens House Preschool - Kindergarten Private/Charter
N/A Love Of Learning Montessori School Preschool - 6th Grade Private/Charter
N/A Nurturing Nest Montessori Preschool - Kindergarten Private/Charter
N/A Julia Brown Montessori School Preschool - 3Rd Grade Private/Charter
* School data provided by National Center for Education Statistics, Pitney Bowes, and GreatSchools. Intended for reference only. GreatSchools Ratings compare a school’s test performance to statewide results. To verify enrollment eligibility, contact the school or district directly.
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