Howard County has selected the Baltimore firm Design Collective Inc. to conduct a weeklong, intensive design gathering that will result in a master development plan for Columbia's downtown.
The county is aiming to hold the five-to-seven-day charrette by the end of September. Experts, consultants and residents will be invited to share ideas about how Columbia's downtown should be transformed into a bustling urban environment.
The meetings will focus on the 570 acres that make up Town Center's core, including The Mall in Columbia and the 51.7-acre, crescent-shaped property near the Merriweather Post Pavilion.
Marsha S. McLaughlin, county planning director, said the meetings will focus on planning principles including mixed use, walkability, a balance between pedestrians and cars, diverse and affordable housing and environmental presentation.