Charlesview meeting TONIGHT, 6:30, 367 Western Ave

While most of us need to breath every few seconds, the free divers profiled in the New Yorker can dive hundreds of feet below the surface while holding their breath for several minutes.

Most people care about their quality of life today and tomorrow and parents may think 10 or 20 years ahead about where they will raise their children. But a unique type of institution can, like the free divers, live for much longer periods of time through conditions that would be disastrous for most everyone else.

Here in Allston and Brighton, Harvard is the "deep diver" staying far below the surface and out of sight while we try to build a more livable neighborhood now. Maybe Harvard can survive decades of blight and decay at its A/B property, but its hard for those of us with a human-paced metabolism and time horizon to thrive with these surroundings.

So at tonight's meeting I hope we encourage Harvard to come up to the surface where the rest of us live. Our near-term success can no longer be ignored by Harvard as it assembles a real estate portfolio to support a 100 or 200 year master plan. Plans for the next decade and century don't have to be mutually exclusive, and the best plan for Charlesview, Brighton Mills, and the rest of our community can only be built if Harvard allows much more development than is currently proposed.

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