How is the Columbia Mall relevant as the focus of downtown Columbia? As we hear talk about changes in the downtown area of Columbia the fact is that the original concept of Columbia came from a company that existed primarily by building enclosed malls. Hundreds of square feet of enclosed retail shopping surrounded by acres of parking was relevant in the 1960's suburban development but how does it translate to the development of today's online retail world?
Is it too early to talk about life after the Columbia Mall? Maybe Columbia will always be nothing more than a nice suburb as long as it is tied to the suburban enclosed mall concept. If we were to look at the space being occupied by the Mall becoming a "downtown entertainment area" that would give us a more urban feel. What would this downtown entertainment area look like? I found this article that gave 12 ways to make a downtown more vibrant. Some of the points may not apply to Columbia but some are worth looking at and some might have to wait for the land to be remade that now is occupied by our 1960's relic.
For a good read on Rouse's ideas for Columbia the book "Jim Rouse: Capitalist/Idealist by Paul Marx is a good place to start. It can be read online at Google books.