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What is Columbus’s identity?

The sun sets over the Columbus skyline and Scioto River.
Adobe Stock
The sun sets over the Columbus skyline and Scioto River.

St. Louis has the Gateway Arch, New York City has Broadway and Philadelphia has the Liberty Bell.

Many U.S. cities with a distinct identity or landmark, have been celebrated in story or song. Movies and tv shows have been filmed there and they’re known for something whether it’s a food item or sports team.

But, what about Columbus?

Outside of Ohio State University, and being the state capital, what is the city’s identity and does it even need one?

Columbus’ recent growth in population makes it the 14th largest city in the U.S. But as the city grows in size and diversity – how do residents and the nation view the city?



  • Bill Geist, founder and president of DMO Proz, a consulting firm specializing in destination marketing
  • Kevin Cox, emeritus distinguished professor of geography at Ohio State
  • Michael Wilkos, senior vice president of community impact at the United Way of Central Ohio

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