Columbia is a master planned community established by legendary developer, James Rouse, who envisioned it as a “garden for growing people.” To accomplish this, Rouse set four goals: to build a complete self-sustaining city where residents would both live and work; to respect the land; to provide for the growth of people; and to make a profit.
The community is made up of 10 villages, nine of which cluster around village centers that were developed as local gathering places and neighborhood shopping and service destinations. The tenth village is made up of a single “downtown,” originally envisioned as a more intensely developed urban core, although this idea was not fully realized during the original build-out of Columbia. When the first village, Wilde Lake, was dedicated in 1967, James Rouse remarked that he hoped Columbia would never be finished; that the community would continue to develop and that the residents who would come to call Columbia home would be actively engaged in the process. That has proven to be true and the development and evolution of Columbia is ongoing.