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Friday, March 4, 2011

Howard County First Best??

We all were pleased when a national magazine like Money would recognized Columbia/Ellicott City as the second best place to live in the country. And I don't think most of us would trade our winters with the folks in Eden Brook Minnesota. This has me thinking about what are the important characteristics of a community that would be evaluated in doing this type of list. Is it the high income base of the population? The high educational level? The green spaces? How about evaluating the quality of life of a community on how connected the people of the community are to each other. Human connection is the element that has been missing in many traditional suburban communities. We decry the long commutes and loss of people connections created by the suburbs of the last 60 years. I have read how backyard decks of the suburbs as opposed to the front porches of older communities are a reflection of the isolation of the suburbs. Of course with the planned community of Columbia we feel that we have created a different community from those around the country. I hope to explore more in future blogs some of Rouse's thinking on creating community in Columbia to start discussions on what is relevant in 2011. I started this blog to be interactive with followers contributing your thoughts as much as mine. So I want to begin the discussion by throwing out the question---"What idea can you suggest that would create connections and a sense of community in Howard County?"

1 comment:

lemon_sorbet said...

I live in Columbia, and I think that there are many opportunities to build community. We have many community events, clean-ups, concerts, plays, etc. The Columbia Flier is a great place to get news about the community here, and I regularly read the HoCo blogs. I think what community-building really comes down to is the initiatives of individuals. I think that middle class culture (which is how I'd describe much of Columbia)puts individual,private experiences above community events.

Which isn't to say that community events aren't well attended (they definitely are), but I think that community-BUILDING events and community-driven neighborhood improvements aren't as popular.

Additionally, a way to build that sense of community is to simply get people out in the open together. Cars do so much to isolate us, and people drive them for even very short trips. I'm happy to pass people on the street and say hello, and I'd really like to see more people out on the sidewalks and pathways.