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It fails to relate these activities in ways that strengthen each other, and thus it suppresses values that orderly relationships and concentration of uses would stimulate. Sprawl is inhuman. It is anti-human." Yet, Rouse notes, there is probably not one metropolitan area in the U.S.
with a really comprehensive, credible plan for its long-term development.
Planning is the key to any Rouse enterprise. How that can work for the future of the American city can best be seen in Columbia, Md., a new kind of community that was developed and planned down to the shape and color of the street lights (round and white) by the Rouse Co., whose four-story, stucco-and-glass headquarters are located beside one of the town's three man-made lakes. The community's 22 sq. mi., almost the size of Manhattan, were quietly, even furtively, assembled over nine months. The farm land had been an obvious target for piecemeal subdivision. Modeled largely on British garden cities and new towns, Columbia was designed around three major goals: preservation of the natural terrain, provision of different types of housing for different groups, and the creation of jobs.
With a population of nearly 60,000, a highly regarded school system, branches of four colleges, one hospital and almost 30,000 jobs, Columbia has five self-sufficient village centers, each made up of three or four neighborhoods. The city's population is about 20% black. "Columbia works," says Rouse, who lives in a low, modern home there. "It's not some half-baked Utopia. It makes good use of the land—hell, 30% of Columbia is park land.
Streams and flood plains have been left alone. It also provides living proof that the races can live together. What is really important about Columbia is the marvelous advance in race relations."
Accent survey of Columbia residents showed that 63% of those who settled there did so, at least in part, because they wanted their children to grow up with those of other races. "Racial problems can only be solved in the cities,"-Rouse maintains.
At Harborplace, the Rouse Co. was one of the first commercial enterprises in the U.S. to create a special unit with the sole function of setting up black-owned firms.
Of its 134 businesses, 18 are black-owned, some with financial aid from the Rouse Co. Most of them are extremely successful despite the fact that, as Rouse puts it, "black people have no image of success in business." More than 40% of the Harborplace workforce is drawn from minorities. In most urban renewal projects, blacks and other minorities often complain, with good reason, that they have been displaced to make room for affluent whites. This is not a fair charge in Rouse's case, however, since most of his developments have been planned around thinly populated areas and have in fact helped stabilize adjoining neighborhoods.
Jim Rouse was born in the gracious Eastern Shore town of Easton, Md., itself a fine place for the growing of people.