During my teenage years Columbia was a rocking place. The new town was expanding at a frenetic pace. As the first generation of kids who grew up in the planned community, there was no doubt in our minds that this growth would continue and that we’d end up with a real city much like the foam core model on display in the Exhibit Center in Town Center.
That didn’t happen.
For a variety of reasons Columbia got off track. The town grew but it lost its edge of innovative planning. The newer neighborhoods and villages were indistinguishable from new community developments almost anywhere. Columbia's Town Center continued to add office buildings but no character. Reston, which had been overshadowed by Columbia for years, reclaimed the community planning spotlight with a wildly successful pedestrian oriented Town Center.
That will all change now and though this change is good it is none the less unsettling for those who grew comfortable with what Columbia had become.
You can read this month’s column here.