City of Columbia kicks off the Downtown Columbia Strategic Plan + Design Guidelines planning process

April 15, 2024

The City of Columbia is excited to launch the Downtown Columbia Strategic Plan and Design Guidelines planning process. Through this effort, the City’s Planning & Development Services Department and a consultant team will work with the Columbia community to discern a refreshed vision for the quality of the built environment Downtown.

This new strategic master plan for Downtown Columbia will:

  1. Create a community-driven vision for the public character of Downtown.
  2. Establish priorities for public policy and public investment in the Downtown built environment.
  3. Protect the unique character and assets of the historic urban core.
  4. Form the basis for Downtown Design Guidelines to help shape great public spaces.

Ways to Engage:

  1. Take our online survey (available through the end of April):
  2. Attend a mobile workshop!  Mobile workshops are a drop-in format, and provide an opportunity to engage directly with City staff.
  3. Tuesday, April 23, 11:00 AM – 1:30 PM; Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, Senate Room, 1101 Lincoln Street
  4. Tuesday, April 23, 4:00 – 6:30 PM, Arsenal Hill Center, 1800 Lincoln Street
  5. Learn more via the project website:
  6. Sign up to receive email updates:


About the Planning Process

The Downtown Columbia Strategic Plan and Design Guidelines process will take approximately 10 months to complete. The initial phase includes opportunities for public and stakeholder-targeted engagement, and will help inform the development of draft guidelines and plan documents. The deliverables, an area plan and design guidelines, will be presented to the public for additional feedback and final drafts will be forwarded to City Council for adoption.

Why Now?

It has been 25 years since the adoption of the City Center Master Plan and more than 15 years since the adoption of the Innovista Master Plan. In the years since these plans were adopted, much has changed: major infrastructure projects have been completed or are underway, thousands of housing units have been built, the City adopted a new Unified Development Ordinance and Comprehensive Plan (Columbia Compass), the Covid-19 pandemic has shifted the way people use downtowns, and lastly, transportation trends have created new shared and electric alternatives.

For information on the Downtown Strategic Plan and Guidelines, visit For information on prior area planning efforts facilitated by the City, including the City Center and Innovista Master Plans, visit