Somewhere in Boston universities are creating major initiatives

There isn't too much new news in this editorial in today's Globe. We know colleges and universities are important to Boston and there is a lot of expansion coming up. Schools are building more dorms so students will live on campus instead of off campus. I don't know anyone who would dispute any of these observations:

"As Harvard, for instance, pushes forward with its science center in Allston, neighbors worry about Barry's Corner, an area whose fate is almost entirely in the university's hands. For city officials, the greatest challenge is to find the right balance when the needs of universities conflict with those of their neighbors."

"Loud, late-night parties do not make for good student ambassadors. And families often resent even the best behaved students, because their presence often drives up housing costs, especially in modest neighborhoods such as Allston."

"The proposed BC dorms are meeting with stiff resistance from neighbors in the Lake Street area, who want to see the student housing built on the main campus - further from their own homes."
But after a few months encouraging the BRA to do something bold with the Harvard Science Complex community benefits and getting a rather unimpressive response, this conclusion to the editorial came as a big surprise.
"Mayor Menino, meanwhile, is using the colleges' desire to expand as his leverage to increase their civic commitments. He wants colleges to create major initiatives in public education, sports, and job training - initiatives far broader than the limited community programs that universities now offer. "I'm out of the pilot program business," Menino says."
I don't see anything even close to a "major initiative" in the benefits agreement distributed last week by the BRA. The ABNNF proposal made bold suggestions to make a dramatic difference in education and public health. But the BRA rebuffed those suggestions as too big and too complicated. Maybe some day Harvard's "education portal" idea will become something great, but at this point it sounds like the kind of "pilot program" that the Mayor rejects.

Academic sprawl - The Boston Globe

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