Part of the plan will be to convert aging office buildings into residential and approve high-density development.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus is growing, but city leaders say it’s not growing fast enough. On Monday, the Columbus City Council unanimously approved an ordinance to quadruple the population of downtown Columbus by 2040.

Downtown Columbus currently has more than 10,000 people, but if the City Council has its way, there will be 40,000 by 2040.

“We have to build. We have to build and build some more,” said Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin.

Hardin said the downtown should be a “reviving economic engine” after the pandemic. This can be achieved in several ways, he said.

That includes converting aging office buildings to housing, approving high-density residential development and turning the city into a “15-minute hub” so neighbors can walk to grocery stores, daycare and more in a short amount of time.

“I think it’s not impossible, they can always do it. But I don’t think it’s going to be that easy,” said Yas Motoyama, assistant professor of urban and regional planning at Ohio State.

Motoyama said 15 minutes is a “good” number to keep in mind when thinking about “15 minutes downtown.”

“It’s usually the maximum distance or time that people like to go. So it’s a good distance to aim for: you have to have three things: live, work and play,” he said.

Motoyama researched the vibrancy of neighborhoods in the state. He said Columbus and Franklin County already have good opportunities for population growth.

Another factor in the plan is ensuring there are affordable housing options.

“I think if we don’t invest in housing and make sure that we’re creating housing in tandem and parallel with job creation, affordability is going to be at risk,” said Carly Boos, executive director of the Affordable Housing Alliance. Central Ohio.

Another part of the city plan is to increase the number of workers in the city to 120,000 people. Currently, the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation said about 90,000 people work downtown.

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