Howard County Blog

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Martin Luther King Day

Two years ago on Martin Luther King Day I posted the following post and I think it is good to reflect on how different community planning decisions can either advance or undermine Dr. King's Dream:

In honor of Martin Luther King Day it might be worth noting how far we have come and how the planning of Columbia moved King’s dream forward. The hardest thing for me to comprehend growing up was that my parents had lived during a time when there was segregation. I grew up in what my peers and I call the “Columbumble”. It is that little utopia of Rouse’s creation that among its features encourages people to interact with people of all backgrounds and by getting to know each other as individuals breakdowns stereotypes. Through all the housing being mixed income and using community design concepts that bring people together Rouse encouraged people to interact with each other. Now we may complain and joke about some of these community design concept, such as not allowing private swimming pools, but how many friendships grew as kids played together at the community pools. And yes, the cluster mailboxes only brought people together when people’s mail ends up in each other boxes and neighbors have to bring the misdirected mail to each other. But other concepts like the fenceless yards encouraged some great neighborhood football games and movement and interaction of people. And of course one of the most successful of concepts of the Interfaith Meeting Houses, that welcomed and encouraged the interaction of people of different faiths. These are all small items, but together Rouse used them to build an experience that encouraged kids to interact and growing up knowing people as individuals and weakening stereotypes.

Yet, how will future development plans affect the further progress of the breaking down of stereotypes? The proposed 22 story condo building for the Lakefront is proposed to have half million to a million dollar condos and a private pool on the top level. Not only is this not mixed income, but by including a private pool it further breaks down one of the traditional mixing devises Rouse used to breakdown stereotypes and build community.

Let us continue to plan our community to reach Martin Luther King’s dream:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is a private pool, but it is open to all building residents. The CA pools are private in the same sense: you must be a CA member. Do you hate the CA pools too?

9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think it makes sense to attack the Tower for not being mixed income. Does each individual building need to be mixed income, or the does the community in general? These are two VERY different things.

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If that building's pool's use is indeed limited solely to its residents, that is certainly far more restrictive than the far more modest limitations CA's pool system imposes. Even people of very limited means are accommodated to allow their use of the pools.

When it comes to additional development within Columbia, if mixed income isn't required within each new development in a manner that reflects Columbia's previous overall balance of mixed income, how does the community in general remain mixed income? Every developer could claim it wasn't their responsibility to have mixed income in their building, leaving it up to some other yet-(or never)-to-come-along development.

The same type of argument was made about how towers preserve open space. Yet, if a tower is built without requiring a corresponding set aside of open space that is clearly identified with that development, then it would certainly seem to be an unfettered green light to just keep building towers and have no real set aside or preservation of open space ever occur.

10:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually there are other communities that have private pools...the "high rise" diagonally across the street from where the Tower would go is one.
And to realize MLK's dream in Columbia (and everywhere) has more to do with encouraging/supporting programs that promote diversity and acceptance (CA could do this in their after school programs and Teen Center to start)rather than slamming the "proposed 22 story condo building". After all, rich kids of all hues could be playing in that pool.

3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evan's criticism of the building hardly approached the level of "slamming". The purposeful community interaction he mentioned wasn't just to address race, it was also about promoting neighborhood interaction of people of varied economic means, too. Dr. King's dream wasn't just about colors and hues, it was also about justice and poverty.

Sure there are a few other communities within Columbia with private pools. Just because they exist doesn't make it a good idea to keep putting in more in all cases. That is, after all, deviating from the purposeful use of of CA pools within Columbia as one more means to building and keeping great neighborhoods. And, the more private pools there are, the less potential membership revenue there is to support CA's pools, making it tougher to keep all neighborhoods' pools open for the entire season and tougher to get to the point where CA can finally put pools in neighborhoods that have still yet to have them built.

If every subsequent building put into Town Center included a private pool, how could CA ever afford or justify putting a pool in Town Center to serve its other residents? Developments within Columbia should support Columbia's model, not defeat it.

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“And, the more private pools there are, the less potential membership revenue there is to support CA's pools, making it tougher to keep all neighborhoods' pools open for the entire season and tougher to get to the point where CA can finally put pools in neighborhoods that have still yet to have them built.”

This is an extraordinary foolish statement. The commenter admits that the CA cannot serve residents adequately, but at the same time suggests that the developer should not be allowed to provide for Tower residents where CA fails. Amazing.

I believe The Cove in Wilde Lake, the first neighborhood in Columbia, has a private pool. I say fill it with concrete so the CA can serve residents.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grand Pointe (formerly Tor) apartments in Oakland Mills also has a private pool.

5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This is an extraordinary foolish statement."

Yes, attempting to criticize, but using the adjective extraordinary where the adverb extraordinarily should be used is indeed a foolish statement.

12:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That the best counterattack you can offer is a critique on grammar speaks volumes.

2:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please don't assume the response was best effort and errantly go on from there to infer volumes therefrom, as the response was metered to match the potency of the argument. And, it was hard to overlook the humor of the pen's use to label a statement foolish, but instead in that very feint demonstrating, like the sword, it, too, requires aim to avoid self-inflicted wounds. I know blogs are far more casual writings, but what's wrong with pausing to laugh when the occasion arises?

"The commenter admits that the CA cannot serve residents adequately, but at the same time suggests that the developer should not be allowed to provide for Tower residents where CA fails."

I believe Columbia's community-sustaining design intents, CA included, can, if changes to Town Center are chosen very wisely, succeed in serving the village's residents even more than adequately, but not if additional developments having private pools and other exclusionary facets being highly-visible symbols are chosen to become the norm.

Such additions (or subtractions, depending on one's point of view) in the heart of Columbia, in this case a symbol atop the tallest structure in the County will, to some, appear as "I've got mine, you get yours", and seem out of place.

4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The almost-inappreciably churlish exegesis above, deposited, as it is, among the code of this digital canvas, is hereby bestowed, as such archetypes of paramountcy customarily are, with due distinction as perhaps, nay, incontestably, the most fustian in the heretofore pubescent epoch of the Howard County weblogs.

6:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have noticed over the last year or so how many anonymous commenters, and even other bloggers have stepped up their attacks on Evan. It smacks of political attacks coming from friends and coat-tail-riders of the ratly County Executive. Some of it no diubt stems from Evan's slight opposition to certain proposed developments (ie: Town Center). What a sham that these are the very people who publicly claim they want an open process, but then smear, attack, and harass anyone who opposes their ideas. It's very much like liberals who used to chant "question authority" but then when they got elected it was "do as I say". Shameful.

8:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know Evan or the County Executive from a rat's hindquarters. That said, I too don’t understand why anyone would attack this blog host. It is not like he used the memory of Dr. King to rail against the Tower or anything shameful like that.

It must be those people from CCD attacking him. It fits their m.o. They even used Bun Penny's departure from the mall as an excuse to rail against GGP. Shameful indeed.

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shameful indeed. I for one want to contulate this Evan fellow for holding back and showing restraint in these times. I have heard that Neilson Mandela is a fervent supporter of open space, and that mother Teresa did advocate for subway systems in suburban north america. Restraint, strength, misunderstood. Thank you Mr. Evan

7:09 PM  
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5:01 PM  

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