I was interested in seeing what some of you here think of Columbus, OH? Do you see it as a liveable city? What is your take on urban community planning in Columbus.
I lived in Columbus for nearly a year and was overall pleased. Here are my observations while I was living there.
You can approach the city from south or west and will not encounter much sprawl (in the western outskirts, you can literally see highrises on one side and farmland on the other). There is a small amount of sprawl to the north along Route 23 heading into Delaware, OH but it is not that bad. The worst sprawl is to the east towards Reynoldsburg where it is bad enough to impact traffic flow.
Columbus has a fairly diversified economy making it a little more resistant to recession. It has a well established service economy which helps to shield it from the full blows of the offshoring movement in certain parts of the IT and manufacturing fields.
This is a hard one to evaluate because Columbus is a large city with around 250 sq miles of area and a population of around 720,000. I like neighborhoods along High St, East Main and West Broad which were all self sustaining allowing one to be automobile free if they desired. Neighborhoods in Westerville, Gahanna and other locals in the city though were not quite as pedestrian friendly and were a little more spread out. The latest information I have read though indicates Columbus has plans to improve many of it's most important neighborhoods and will even diversify by using "New Urbanism" style planning in some.
Columbus has an assortment of housing. It has an active adaptive reuse scene making urban lofts very easy to acquire and fairly low price. There is also quite a selection of townhomes, condos and high rise apartments. Single family housing is also quite common throughout the city. Housing is quite affordable and matches prices found in much smaller cities which is quite amazing for a large city like Columbus.
Entertainment & Culture
Columbus has a rich selection of sporting venues. The science museum is excellent. The city also has numerous art museums as well as a huge assortment of SOHO style galleries. The zoo and amusement park are also a nice feature.
In Columbus, the shopping attractions are in the urban parts of the city. Columbus has numerous large malls and all kinds of specialty stores in the downtown and along the main streets. I was really amazed at how many neighborhoods off the main streets also had their own stores and shopping centers in some cases with easy pedestrian access.
Considering it's size and economic activity, Columbus has a low traffic level on it's streets. Most of that can be credited to a massive free way system incorporating not only a beltway, but numerous freeways that cross and intersect in downtown much like the spoke of a bicycle wheel. The streets are laid out in a coherent and easy to navigate block pattern. It really is hard to get lost in this city.
Columbus has a large selection of educational opportunities such as OSU, Devry, Columbus State and numerous other schools.
I was amazed at how low the crime rate was in Columbus. Even the worst neighborhoods which are in the eastern part of the city were tame. My assumption on this is that Columbus's economy is good enough that most people do not feel they need to be slinging drugs to make it. What are your theories on this?
I know this one was pretty brief compared to my notes on Charleston, WV. Columbus would take a lot of work to document in that kind of detail considering it's large size and sheer numbers of different sections in the city.