By Danial Latif
Located in the heart of Downtown Columbus is a 7 acre green space know as Columbus commons. This is an open space that features a pavilion for concerts and performances as well as food and entertainment.
The project was developed by Columbus Downtown Development Corporation (CDDC) and Capitol South Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation (Capitol South), private, non-profit development organization (CDDC & Capitol South). Columbus Commons is a gratifying space that connects people downtown while also providing event and residential areas. All with ample parking.
The Commons stands at the former site of City Center Mall, which was carefully dismantled and much of it recycled between late 2009 and early 2010 (History). This mall in its prime sought to attract shoppers towards the downtown area. It did accomplish that however it was un-engaging to Columbus, as people simply parked in the underground garage and kept themselves within the vicinity of the mall.
This was a disconnect between the city and people inside the mall and was one reason City Center Mall was fundamentally flawed eventually leading to its downfall. The straw that did the mall in was the presence of suburban malls such as Easton and Polaris that engaged users with their outdoor world instead of one single building. This was seen as much more attractive as sales were much higher in these outside malls as opposed to the single building of City Center. All in all leading to its demise and dismantle leading us to the proposal of Columbus Commons.
Columbus Commons was proposed as an idea to attract more attention downtown. Of the 9 acre site one third would be reserved for development, while the rest would be preserved as a public park. This proposal could allow for an environment that not only brings people downtown but also keeps them there, as Columbus has had issue with retaining these individuals.
City center mall still left its presence however, as the Commons still use the underground parking garage and this ties back to attracting people downtown, for ample parking is very welcoming. This also makes the area of Columbus Commons a green roof. This is highlighted through the limited amount of plants located at the site consisting of grass, shrubbery, and small trees. The issue however and one negative aspect of the site is the lack of shade. Through the small selection of plants minimal shade is provided and this factors in mostly on a hot summers day. This is the only gripe present through the commons as it is a space that engages Columbus very well. Also outlining the commons are residential and office spaces. These residential spaces are skillful in the fact that they separate the park from the business of High Street. This isolates individuals and they are able to experience the commons in an even more dramatic and intimate setting. Overall keeping a small pocket of the city as an open area much like to the effect of Central Park in New York. Columbus commons is a successful use of space from what used to be a waste and now helps to bring the community together through performances and events while also stimulating the city of Columbus through population and economic benefit.
“CDDC & Capitol South / Development Organizations Lead Downtown Change”. DowntownColumbus.com. Retrieved 2011-06-21.
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Ferenchik, Mark (2011-05-26). “New park stands out like an emerald in the city”. The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 2011-06-21.
“History.” » Columbus Commons. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2015.