The planned community of Columbia was developed in the 1960's by the Rouse Company as a way to control the urban sprawl that had overtaken so many expanding regions of the country. The 14,000 acres of rural land upon which Columbia now stands was carefully planned by a panel of experts in a variety of fields including education, health care, recreation, sociology, economics, psychology, and communications. The result of the efforts taken in 1964 to design the community can now be seen in Columbia's excellent schools, growing businesses, in demand homes, and content residents. For example, Columbia's first of its nine neighborhoods, the Village of Wilde Lake is today home to Wilde Lake High School, one of Maryland's highest rated public schools.
Columbia is full of things to do with seemingly endless options for dining, shopping, recreation, and culture. The spacious and upscale Mall in Columbia, which features over 230 stores, is a popular shopping destination that draws Marylanders from surrounding counties and the town's 120 restaurants offer an eclectic range of cuisines to satisfy even the pickiest eater. In addition, the famed Merriweather Post Pavilion attracts internationally acclaimed musical acts and entertainers to Columbia each summer. The town also helps to promote a healthy lifestyle with its 80 miles of public pathways for running, biking, and hiking, as well as its Howard County funded athletic leagues for adults and children.
Consistently ranked as the best in the state, the Howard County Public School System educates residents of Columbia. Elementary schools are safely tucked into residential communities to and from which parents and children can easily walk. In addition, Columbia has two magnet schools, which train highly gifted students in specialized programs. While their public elementary and secondary schools are top notch, Columbia also has tremendous opportunities for adults looking to further their education with advanced degrees, as the prestigious Johns Hopkins University and Loyola College of Maryland both have satellite campuses for their graduate programs in Columbia.