Thursday, October 15, 2009

Columbia's Growth

There is a recent article in the Sun discussing the planned development for Columbia over the next ten years. In my opinion, all legislatures (county council included) see their role as similar to a business' board of directors. They must grow. But that is not the mandate of government and I think Columbia's growth is simply for the sake of growth and not to reach any end goal. A perfect example of the dangers presented by this approach is the Maple Lawn "community." They've had multiple failed businesses and the residential district that was meant to manufacture customers sits at half capacity. Growth cannot be manufactured by the government, not matter what your President tells you.

In Columbia, we already have a budding crime problem that is getting worse by the day. A county that less than 5 years ago had 5-10 homicides a year is edging closer to the 50 mark. Why does the council see fit to bulldoze themselves into new problems while the existing one's fester? I think the reason is that they are mostly oblivious. You will not see a council-person making statements about how the "details are where a lot of the discussion will go in the future" about the drug rings using our county as home base or the prostitution along Route 1 ("I have seen some improvement"...really?). If Towson is the model, please just look up the Beltway and tell me things are going well for them.

This county will develop and has developed over the past 20 years, but it has developed to meet a steadily rising demand. The county is looking to create a glut of housing (because that worked out before) and then prop up new businesses to meet the expected market. Funny thing is that I don't see any economists weighing in on this little plan. Just developers...and council-members.


  1. There is one economist named Anirban Basu who works as a consultant for developers and so comes out in favor of all growth.

    Citizens keep asking for a voice, they should be asking for actual consideration. As noisy as Howard's activist community is, there is no follow-through. Well, almost none. There are a few lawsuits which occurred after the entire population was backed into a corner on ballot access - crazy times! Next year will be real fun.

  2. Much like in business, growth for growth's sake, without strategy or proper planning, is typically an ego problem. The identity of Columbia and the reason it has been so successful since the Rouses founded it, lies in other attractions than its size. Companies with rapid expansion and contraction don't weather well in the long run...