The first building of Downtown Columbia, Maryland, is expected to be under construction in early 2013 — the first step toward realizing the dream of the late developer James Rouse of creating mixed-use town center for the 1960s new town. That vision was thwarted by single-use zoning. The town center currently consists of a massive mall surrounded by parking and a ring road — all scaled to accelerated automobile traffic. Transforming this to a walkable place will amount to “sprawl repair” on a very large scale, according to a story in the December issue of Better! Cities & Towns. The building takes up an entire block, but will be visually separated into two halves, one with ground-floor retail facing the mall. In between the building and the ring road will be a public promenade with a playground.
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