By Amanda Kolson Hurley
In an era when city living is virtually synonymous with cool, Columbia, Md., emanates suburban uncool. Located off U.S. Route 29 between Washington and Baltimore, Columbia is not a tight grid on the map, but a plate of spaghetti — a tangle of crooked parkways and cul-de-sacs. Cities reach for the sky, but Columbia hugs the ground, with shopping centers and man-made lakes passing for landmarks. In cities, 20-somethings get together at cafes for brunch; in Columbia, 40-somethings catch up while watching their kids at the pool or playground. Columbia’s version of a city hall is a nondescript building in an office park. The most colorful thing about the place is its twee street names, chosen from literature: Rivendell Lane, Marble Faun Lane, Rocksparkle Row.
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