Allston rat boom in the Herald

There certainly seems to be more rats around here than anytime in recent memory, but of course it is impossible to prove what caused or sustains this surge.

What I am pretty sure of is that the dynamic would be different if Harvard was more personally integrated into the neighborhood where it owns so much property. Omar Blaik describes it well in this interview with ArchitectureBoston from earlier this year:
"Trust started to take root when the boundaries between the institution and the neighborhood dissolved, when people like me, who were administrators at Penn, moved into the neighborhood. For the first time, administrators would arrive at the campus, not by driving off the highway from the very rich suburbs at the front yard of the campus, but by biking or walking from the neighborhood that was at the time the back side of the campus. With this kind of fluidity between the neighborhood and the institution, a lot of problems get solved without having to create a committee, without having to issue one executive order or another."

But when administrators and deans and vice presidents live in the neighborhood, you can’t criticize them as much because their kids go to the same school as your kids, and they have soccer practice together. Suddenly those relationships become more human — they are no longer institution versus neighborhood."

Rat beef with Harvard gnaws on neighbors -


  1. I moved to Allston from the North End, which has a terrible rat problem -- much, much worse than anything in Allston. However, the city responds quickly to reports of rats in the North End. I've called the Mayor's office to report rat carcasses (for removal) and also live rats (so Inspectional Services can bait the area), and not received a response. The city definitely treats the two neighborhoods differently -- something I first noticed over the winter, when roads and sidewalks went uncleared.

    The article mentions that Harvard will be distributing free "garbage caddies," which sounds great -- I was planning to buy one myself and they're very expensive (the city provides them to North End residents at no cost, by the way). Any word on how to obtain one?

  2. Remind me to stab my eyes out with a fork before I attempt to read the "comments" section of the Herald again.

  3. In order to get the rodent in the trap, use a tantalizing trail of peanut butter. Although you can use virtually anything as bait (fruit, chocolate, etc.), peanut butter works best because it can stay fresh for several days and cannot be easily moved. For some types of traps, peanut butter doesn't work well because the rats can lick it clean, without activating the trap. If you stumble upon this problem, simply place some floss within the peanut butter. This way, the only way the rat can take all of the peanut butter is by moving the trap mechanism.