We Champion Diversity And The Shared Values That Bind Humankind

Columbia was built upon the promise of racial and economic integration. Today it celebrates the multicultural community that has developed since its founding. In 2019, Wallethub ranked Columbia as one of its “Most Diverse Cities in America” with a resident mix of 48% white, 26% black or African American, 12% Asian and 8% Hispanic.

The community’s values and ideals of inclusion are driving the vision for Downtown Columbia. Low-to-moderate income housing is interspersed within market-rate communities. Transportation is in the forefront, not just to get people out of their cars to protect the environment, but to make it easier and affordable for Downtown workers to get to and from their jobs and homes.

Leveling the playing field by considering diverse economic and social backgrounds helps make this growing urban-like community a place that will retain the values that Columbia was founded upon long into the future.

Having conversations at a Books in Bloom event
Audience at a Books in Bloom event

Events and Opportunities to Connect

As Downtown Columbia constantly grows and expands, so does the opportunity for minority-owned businesses. Periodic events hosted by Howard County and master-developer The Howard Hughes Corporation provide a venue for business owners to network and to cultivate prospects for growth and expansion.


For Everyone Who Wants to Call Downtown Columbia Home

Downtown Columbia’s redevelopment includes opportunities that ensure that people who want to live in Downtown can afford to live Downtown. To accomplish this, 900 housing units, 16% of residential density, will be designated for very low income, low income and moderate income residents.

Low and moderate income units are being interspersed among the market-rate rental apartment buildings under construction now and planned for the future. Each unit will contain the same high-end fixtures and finishes in the market-rate units.

For the very low-income options, mixed-income, mixed-use projects are being planned. And, there are Live Where You Work units available that are partially financed by The Howard Hughes Corporation and managed by the Columbia Downtown Housing Commission.

Woman walking in the library

A Place Where People and Ideas Can Grow

Downtown Columbia has access to one of the nation’s top school systems, excellent institutions of higher education and an outstanding library system.

The Howard County School System consistently ranks among Maryland’s top-performing school districts based on student performance on state assessments. Students continually achieve above the national averages on standardized tests. The system itself embraces diversity and encourages students and staff members to gain skills, knowledge and confidence to positively influence the greater community. Joining the school system is the Howard County Public Library System. HCLS was named Library of the Year by Library Journal in 2013 and continues offering enormous opportunities for the community. The system contains seven branches, including its Central Branch that is planned to move into a new state-of-the-art facility in Downtown Columbia’s Merriweather District.


An Even More Walkable
“City in a Garden”

Forests, lakes, boardwalks, trails and wetland areas are located throughout Downtown Columbia. And it’s not by accident.

Following Columbia Founder James W. Rouse’s vision of having a City in a Garden, master developers joined with local environment enthusiasts and nationally recognized environment specialists Biohabitats to create an environmentally sound and naturally attractive Downtown.

Stream and flood plain restoration, reforestation and elimination of invasive species and beautification efforts are all addressed in the Downtown Columbia Plan.

Downtown Columbia residents and workers can step outside their apartments or offices and soak in nature as they stroll boardwalk connections and trails that meander around and through restoration areas, forests and green spaces. Features include natural rock and wood from construction sites reused for stream restoration and trail accents, and an abundance of flowering cherry and other specimen trees that offer exceptional nature experiences throughout the year.

Wooden walking bridge over stream