If our federal and state tax dollars are going to directly fund construction of Harvard's Science Complex, then I think it would be appropriate to see some changes to the design and attitude driving that project.
During the review process I noted that Harvard made bogus claims about public spaces in the buildings and the general attitude that the four-building complex was for Harvard and Harvard people, not for Allston/Brighton and its residents. So Harvard told us to keep out of the Science Complex's fitness center ("sorry, too small"), keep out of the private rooftop restaurant and bar ("sorry, security threat"), keep out of the Harvard shuttle buses (a security or insurance risk) and keep our kids out of the daycare (unless your kid is one of the 15%). Harvard designed a first floor with little retail or restaurants and eliminated the small museum-type space that was in the initial plan.
Overall, Harvard chose to ignore the many opportunities to have the complex help make Western Ave more vibrant, remove town/gown barriers, and think about how this massive complex and first step in the campus expansion could also be a first step in a neighborhood renaissance.
While I still disagree with Harvard's approach, if they were building the entire complex with private funds I guess you could say "it is their money so they can do what they want with it." Well, if instead it is going to be partially funded with our money then a very different attitude would be appropriate.
Stephen Pagliuca has Allston plan - BostonHerald.com