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Columbia Launches Downtown Strategic Plan Process

Community-driven downtown vision

Columbia Initiates Downtown Strategic Plan Process

The city of Columbia has instigated the Downtown Columbia Strategic Plan and Design Guidelines planning process. The endeavor, led by the city’s Planning and Development Services Department in collaboration with a consultant team, aims to establish a renewed vision for the built environment downtown.

The Vision for Downtown Columbia

A news release stated that the strategic master plan for Downtown Columbia will:

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Develop a community-driven vision

Efforts will be made to create a comprehensive image for the public character of downtown, leaning heavily on community engagement.

Set priorities for public policy and investment

Priorities for public policy and public investment in the Downtown built environment will be established, ensuring the region’s development aligns with the community’s wants and needs.

Protect unique character and assets

The unique character and assets of the historic urban core in Columbia will be preserved and protected, whilst supporting its evolution.

Form basis for Design Guidelines

Lastly, the process will form the basis for Downtown Design Guidelines that are instrumental in shaping functional and aesthetically pleasing public spaces.

How to Get Involved

Through until the end of April, residents and interested parties can contribute their thoughts to the plan by taking part in the city’s online survey. Several “mobile workshop” offered a drop-in format which gave direct engagement with city staff. Furthermore, more detailed information about this project can be found on the project’s website.

Planning Process Details

The strategic plan and design guidelines process is scheduled to take roughly 10 months to bring to completion. The initial phase integrates opportunities for engagement from both the public and stakeholders, with the aim of informing the development of draft guidelines and planning documents.

Following this, the projected outcomes, being an area plan and design guidelines, will be offered to the public for additional feedback. The final drafts will then be advanced to the City Council for adoption.

Why Now?

Since the adoption of the City Center Master Plan 25 years ago, and the Innovista Master Plan over 15 years ago, the landscape of Columbia has significantly evolved. The catalysis of this process includes major infrastructure projects, thousands of newly built housing units, a new Unified Development Ordinance and Comprehensive Plan (Columbia Compass), changing usage of downtown regions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and new transportation trends.


Columbia Launches Downtown Strategic Plan Process

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This Article is sponsored by:


7001 St Andrews Rd #329 ,Columbia, SC 29212,United States
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