Princeton unveils a campus plan

Last week, Princeton University published its plan for the next 10 years of its campus growth. Community concerns seem to focus on a proposed relocation of a train station that would move it away from downtown Princeton, NJ.

A chapter of its plan is dedicated to the relationship between the campus and community. It notes that "a remarkable 36 percent of residents walk to work compared to 3 percent statewide. The availability of retail, services, and even a railroad link to the Northeast Corridor within walking distance of residential neighborhoods makes Princeton a unique community...The University also subsidizes the local movie theater and the historical society, and recently took the initiative to make sure Princeton would continue to have an excellent independent bookstore right on Nassau Street."

The local 2-screen movie theater, the Princeton Garden Theater, was purchased and renovated by Princeton University and reopened in 2001. At the time, the Mayor of Princeton said "The residents and the students need a facility within walking and biking distance from their homes, so they are not trapped in a situation where they have to drive several miles to get to a theater. The theater at that location also makes an important contribution to the after-hours liveliness of the town."

The idea of a movie theater in Allston (along the lines of the Coolidge Corner movie theater) frequently comes up in community discussions and a movie theater in Allston has been suggested as a place to show movies in the Harvard Film Archive.

An interesting sidebar in the plan describes how, in the late 60's, Princeton "roundly rejected" the notion that "that the campus was for insiders, and outsiders should remain outside." The symbolic opening of a gate between the campus and community is used to tell a story about a relationship based on openness between Princeton (the university) and Princeton (the town).

Its hard to tell how much of this is real based solely on reading several newspaper articles, but at least Princeton is talking about balancing the needs of the community and university and integrating with its neigbors.
"One of the five guiding principles articulated by President Tilghman at the outset of the planning effort, “sustain strong community relations,” signals the University’s recognition that it does not—and does not wish to— live in an enclave behind ivy-covered walls, but rather that it is and aims to be a positive and respectful citizen of the communities in which it resides."

Princeton Campus Plan Princeton University - University publishes full campus plan - The Daily Princetonian

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