The letter that Faust could & should have written

Dear Neighbors in Allston and Brighton,


It is with deep regret that I write to you with the news that in early 2011 Harvard will stop construction of the Science Complex that began construction in 2008 on Western Avenue in Allston. I would like to take this opportunity to offer my apology to the many people who looked forward to the construction jobs, permanent employment, and neighborhood revitalization that we expected this project to create.

Harvard has begun an internal review to reevaluate our long-term goals and how these goals may translate into uses for our property in Allston and Brighton. But while Harvard will and must think about the needs of the University in the decades and centuries into the future, we also recognize our obligation to be a good neighbor today and tomorrow.


To this end, I am joining with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino to appoint a working group charged with making significant quality of life improvements in North Allston and North Brighton in the months and years to come. This group will report quarterly to Mayor Menino and I both in person and in writing to discuss our collective accomplishments, goals, and priorities. Their first report will be submitted on March 31, 2010.


This group will include representatives of Harvard University and the City of Boston, residents of North Allston and North Brighton, the Allston and Brighton Boards of Trade, and the Allston Village and Brighton Main Streets organizations. They will set measurable and ambitious goals and I am confident that these goals will be achieved. This group has also been empowered to seek advice and participation from people throughout Harvard University and Boston City Hall, and Mayor Menino and I encourage those who are asked to enthusiastically contribute.


It will not be quick or easy to transform all of Harvard’s property in Allston and Brighton from what it is today into what we all would like it to be. At the same time, there is great potential to make the progress that can and should be made while longer-term planning is considered.


Thank you,

Drew Faust


  1. Anonymous9:34 AM

    Very well written. As I read Faust's letter the first thing I noticed was the lack of simply saying we are sorry for disrupting our neighborhood. The second thing I noticed was more vague promises without specific ways Harvard will work with the community. Your letter nicely addresses both issues. If only Harvard would get it right!


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