World class, or just crass? - Globe editorial about an equitable Boston

The sentiment of this editorial in today's Globe I think applies directly to Harvard's expansion. Is Boston a world-class city for everyone, or only for some people? The Globe is prompted to write because of the opening of the Mandarin Oriental in Boston, whose "tempting offers" include hotel rooms starting at $525. There is nothing wrong with another ultra-luxury hotel, but we also need development designed to improve life for the regular people.

The Globe quotes the The Boston Foundation who says that the City and State face serious challenges that require "extraordinary collaborative efforts." Here in Allston, where Harvard's campus is expanding, residents daily see those challenges in areas like housing, transportation, and education. So far, we don't see much serious collaboration with Harvard or others to improve things in these areas.

The editorial concludes with the aspiration for collaboration that "would be truly great if it could also produce a world-class city for everyone else". If Harvard develops hundreds of acres in Allston and its neighbors are just an afterthought, as it seemed from last night's presentation, a tremendous opportunity for collaboration will have been missed.


  1. As a Northeastern student, it was only slightly unsettling, but mostly logical, that our university expanded. We needed more housing, more class space, etc. etc. Eventually taking over more chunks of Roxbury.

    From the other side of the fence, as an Allston resident, it's unnerving to see what Harvard can do with little regard for the community they so intimately abutt.

  2. wellbasically1:43 PM

    There are luxury restaurants and pizza places, but there is no middle because the city is too hard on the marginal business. The tax and regulatory structure of the city is high. The luxury people can either afford the capital investment or they can buy their way out of taxes through political influence.

    The attention in our world today is top-down, which means that news in Boston is about the one luxury place that goes up while two normal places go down. Look at the national news: bailouts for huge banks who have a revolving door to the treasury department, but nothing for your local business owner.

    The thing with Harvard is unique, because they are another pillar of the top-down attitude. Government operates in this view not by organic participation from the base, but by decisive and sometimes unpopular leadership at the top. So you will see Harvard plans that exclude all street parking next to their new buildings, which eliminates street level commerce accross from those buildings.

    The Globe has a lot of Harvard graduates working there so it's not surprising that the Globe's political leaning is anti-populist. The Globe generally favors higher business taxes and tougher regulations which drive the marginal business away.

  3. Anonymous7:34 PM

    Which is exactly what Joe the Plumber was confronting Obama about, but all the Obama disciples just don't want to accept their messiah is against small businesses that don't just cater to his Harvard elite crowd.

    And to think the majority of AB is going to vote for this fool when he, and his campaign staff are specifically protecting Harvard in this rape of the neighborhood. Penny Pritzker is holding down the neighborhood while Faust and Obama tag team it.

  4. wellbasically8:41 PM

    In politics you only get to choose one or the other. I don't see how McCain is on the side of the little guy. But I agree it's important to be a skeptic about Harvard's liberal rhetoric.