Imagineering a city that fosters community

The Film

During the Post War Era and into the Age of Camelot, men and women dedicated their time and talent to making our world better. Inspired by President Kennedy’s vision, we focused our attention on innovative technology, medical advances, and the extraordinary growth of American cities and suburbs. And yet, cities were running out of space, and suburbs were popping up all over the landscape with haphazard design and planning.

James Rouse, mortgage banker and commercial developer, had been a visionary throughout his career. As a developer, he built the first indoor shopping mall, created the first food court, and conceptualized the first destination marketplace. Rouse saw this suburban sprawl as corrosive to American communities. So, he bought 15,000 acres of land between Baltimore and Washington and formed a think tank to design a better city.

Placemaking is a feature-length documentary chronicling the efforts of the Rouse team to design and build a better city, the crises they struggled with along the way, and their ultimate journey to success in Columbia, MD, current population 100,000, and Money Magazine’s 2016 Best Place To Live in America.


As you can see, we have already shot dozens of interviews and other footage over the last 25 years, some of which would not be available today. Pat Kennedy, Maggie Brown, Kingdon Gould, Al Scavo, Ed Ely, Bob Tennenbaum, Jim Robey, Charlie Feaga, Dick Talkin, Dr Fred Lewis, and many others have already been interviewed, yet there are still man more to do. Many of the people who were integral characters in our story will be visiting Columbia this summer to celebrate its 50th Birthday, and we will be capturing their stories. We will also be doing a fail amount of traveling to interview those who no longer live nearby.