Josh Olsen believes that James Rouse had a profound influence on shaping the American landscape during the second half of the 20th century. This comprehensive biography covers the career of this mortgage banker, master planner and city builder. The dust jacket says, “Drawing on archival materials and extensive interviews with Rouse’s own family, friends and colleagues, Olsen masterfully tells the story of a developer who associated with the business and political elite, yet dressed like a traveling salesman, who held extremely liberal political views, yet had a deep faith in the power of capitalism, and who was a starry-eyed idealist, yet created practical, logical plans for improving the built landscape.”
Better Places Better Lives – A Biography of James Rouse
By Joshua Olsen
Columbia is a planned community that has influenced suburban development since its creation in the mid-1960s. Urban planners continue to study Columbia’s innovative approaches to suburban sprawl, racial and economic integration and preservation of the natural landscape. This volume contains the maps, models, and drawings that began the building process; the aerial views and individual buildings that illustrate how a city grows; and the images of the people and events that have created the fabric of the community. Barbara Kellner is the Director of the Columbia Archives and the photographs are from the Columbia Archives collection.
Columbia: Images of America
By Barbara Kellner
Jim Rouse secretly bought 14,000 acres of farmland in segregated Howard County, Md., in 1964. He promised to transform the land into a city of 100,000 that was “economically diverse, poly-cultural, multi-faith and interracial.” Veteran journalist Len Lazarick tells the fascinating story of how this new town of Columbia grew and prospered over the past half-century, with many successes and a few failures. In 2016, Money magazine called it the “best small city to live in America.”
Columbia at 50: A Memoir of a City
By Len Lazarick
The creation and development of one of America’s preeminent planned cities from the perspective of 36 individuals who played key roles in the story. The illustrated volume tells the how and why of building a community that has been consistently named a “best place to live’ by leading publications. In 76 comprehensive accounts, the book thoroughly explores what worked, what didn’t and what was learned from the experience. This is a must-read for anyone with an interest in the dynamics of community making.
Columbia Maryland: A Fifty-Year Retrospective on the Making of a Model City
Edited by Robert Tennenbaum
Privately published, 2017, 412 pages
“But where are the churches?” is a familiar refrain in Columbia, Maryland. This book is a recounting of how, beginning in 1964, religious planners worked for several years to develop the initial concepts of the interfaith centers and the Columbia Cooperative Ministry. More than 40 firsthand accounts relate the story of early residents’ encounters with these innovative religious and social ministry concepts. The book also describes several current interfaith endeavors.
Creative Tension: Memories of Early Interfaith Experiences in Columbia, Maryland
Edited by Carolyn Arena and Elizabeth Martin
Mitchell and Stebenne know Columbia well. Stebenne grew up in Columbia and Mitchell was his high school history teacher. Their book presents a narrative history of Columbia, Maryland and an assessment of its accomplishments. To give context it also explores Howard County’s history and the life of James Rouse. New City Upon A Hill takes its title from the Puritan leader John Winthrop’s memorable phrase. The authors write that Winthrop used those words to describe the Massachusetts Bay colony as a society that would be pleasing to both God and man. “Columbia possessed those same aspirations from the start. It was intended to be both a model urban center and an experiment in free enterprise capitalism.”
New City Upon A Hill: A History of Columbia, Maryland
By Joseph Rocco Mitchell and David L. Stebenne
Columbia’s street names have been a source of conversation since the early days of Columbia. Faced with naming 1000 streets, The Rouse Company settled on the theme of the best in American literature and art as the source of most of the street names. That resulted in some pretty unusual names such as Morning Leap Terrace, Blue Pool and Liquid Laughter Lane. “Where did that street name come from?” is a common question. The answer can be found in Oh, you must live in Columbia: The origins of place names in Columbia, Maryland, the book published by Columbia Archives in 2008.
The book includes the story of the people and the process that resulted in the city’s unique monikers and the poetic, artistic or historical source of each one. It also answers questions such as why some street signs are blue and others green and why Satan Wood is now Satinwood Drive. Peppered with photos, cartoons and stories, this long-awaited book is fun to read and an inspiration for party conversation and family games.
Oh, you must live in Columbia! The origins of place names in Columbia Maryland
By Missy Burke, Robin Emrich and Barbara Kellner
History abounds on the path around Wilde Lake, from a plaque explaining the origin of the name to the homes and other structures on its shore. Learn more about Columbia’s early history on a 1.5 mile walk around the lake.
John Levering and Wes Yamaka, popular Columbia artists in the 1970s, turned to art after other careers personifying Columbia’s goal to be a place for people to grow.
Gary Kubicek turned his camera and creative eye on the General Growth Properties office in Columbia. He was intrigued by the way light and the seasons changed the view of the building that was designed by Frank Gehry as the headquarters for The Rouse Company in 1974. Brochure accompanied an exhibit of his work at Columbia Archives in 2008.