Saturday, September 24, 2005

The future of downtown Columbia

More like this?

Although it doesn't look terribly original (it reminds of the new buildings in Baltimore), I think we need more buildings like this to help define Town Center.

It will be interesting to see what level of detail we will get in the finished product of the upcoming charrette. Will it include drawings similar to the one above but with a little less detail? Surely, that is what the people want and need to visualize the future we're agreeing to.


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roscoe said...

I was browsing through the many photos on the Columbia charrette web site, of downtown Bethesda and Clarendon in Northern Virginia. The planners seem to have these two locations as models of good planning. Is this your "vision" of the way downtown Columbia should be?

Hayduke said...

I think it's important to distinguish between planning and architecture. From an aesthetic standpoint, Clarendon doesn't do much for me, and neither does Bethesda. Both lack defining buildings, much like Columbia. There's just nothing special about them. So, in this sense, I think Bethesda and Clarendon are bad examples (and the building pictured in the Sun doesn't do much for me, but it's at least a step toward defining physical structures).
However, from a planning perspective, I think Bethesda, at least, is a fairly good model to follow. That is, if we both share the assumption that planning is not about what our community looks like, but how it functions. Good planning answers the questions of how we move people around, how we ensure an inviting welcoming atmosphere, how we make our community a good place to live and visit. In this respect, Bethesda functions quite well.