Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Columbia is a Verb

Preservation.  The first rule of preservation is that you must have something valuable to preserve.  In the case of buildings, they should have value to the community through their use, and/or their historical nature.  In the case of land, preservation means protecting an important natural habitat.

Symphony Woods, as it stands today, is none of these.  Let me reiterate--

1. No buildings valuable to the community through meaningful public use
2. No buildings whose historical significance make them worthy of protection/restoration
3. No thriving natural habitat which merits careful conservation

Oh, and something else.  Aside from two times yearly, Symphony Woods has no people. It has no people using the space, no people enjoying the space, no people actively involved through community initiatives to contribute to the space.

And so--leaving Symphony Woods exactly as it is?  This is not preservation. It is neglect.  Like the Victorian habit of maintaining a dead person's room exactly as he left it, a completely static memorial. Lifeless.

Let's compare the newly proposed Inner Arbor Plan plan to see how it addresses the three categories stated above:

1. Headquarters for CA and Arts buildings: Meaningful for public use
2. A re-statement of Columbia's commitment to the arts: Historically significant
3. A respectful reshaping of the landscape to encourage both active and passive appreciation of its beauty:  Conservation of nature

Please learn more about this plan, and contact the CA Board with your thoughts before this Thursday, January 24th. In addition, residents are encouraged to attend the January 24th meeting and the February 14th meeting to voice their opinions in person.  

I am excited about the new plan because it will create something worthy of the citizens of our community. It promotes engagement, participation, and a connection to the values we honor as Columbians. It says, "James Rouse created something great, and we recognize our responsibility to keep that greatness alive in perpetuity." We are responsible.

In other words: Columbia is a verb. So, let's get moving.

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