Lakeside Title and other residents of Columbia may soon have to welcome some new neighbors.
Word is out that Columbia, Maryland, the home of Lakeside Title’s corporate location, is a great place for people to live and where businesses are flourishing. The Howard County city was just selected as “Best Place to Live” by Money Magazine.
Money Magazine studied every American city with a population between 50,000 and 300,000. They analyzed each community by 60 factors, including median home prices, median household income, crime rates, and high school graduation rates.
Commute time was just one of the many factors that helped Columbia jump to the head of other counties. The average resident needs only 29 minutes to get from home to work and vice-versa. The city’s 3.5 percent rate of unemployment and relatively low average property taxes (approximately $4,400/year) also played a role.
Money last ranked American cities in the 50,000-300,000 population category back in 2014. Last year, the magazine looked at small towns (10,000-50,000) and selected three other Maryland cities in the top 50 — Urbana, North Laurel, and Damascus.
Columbia is a planned community that was the brainchild of land developer James Rouse, who drew up the original plans for the city a half century ago.
Rouse dreamed of a community where people from all walks of life could work, play, and live together. To bring that dream to reality, he made built the concept of togetherness into the master plan from day one.
Each of the ten villages within Columbia includes a cross-section of residences — townhomes, single-family homes, and apartments. Homes don’t have their own mailboxes; they’re situated in groups by the block or cul-de-sac to promote neighborly mixing. There’s an “interfaith center,” where people from all religious backgrounds and faiths can share the same space on a rotational basis.
Today, several developers are competing to build new retail spaces, offices, and apartment complexes throughout the city. There’s also the ongoing overhaul of the Merriweather Post Pavilion, a $19 million project.
Clearly, according to Money Magazine at least, the new developments and 50 years of being encroached upon by the outside world haven’t tarnished Rouse’s original vision for Columbia. The hard work and dreaming that was done in the 1960s is one of the biggest reasons it can be thought of as the best place to live in America today.
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