But current efforts to make better use of the University’s property holdings have led some to question the original need for the Allston science building, especially as Harvard has already constructed two large laboratory buildings over the past decade—The New Research Building [525,000 square feet, completed in 2003] in Longwood and the Northwest Science Building in Cambridge [530,000 square feet, completed in 2008].
“Looking back on Allston... the mentality seemed to be ‘if you build it, they will come,’ and maybe we’ve in some sense moved back to a more rational plan,” [Timothy Mitchison, deputy chair of systems biology] said.
The story mentions that Union ranked 2nd on The Princeton Review's list of 20 schools with “strained town-gown relations” (Holy Cross was the only Massachusetts school listed). Princeton Review also list 20 schools where they think town-gown relations are great - Olin College of Engineering and Stonehill are the MA representatives.
Good for Professor Fried! Note that this is not a story about Union dipping into its endowment (which was $292 million as of December 31, 2008 - approximately 1% of Harvard's endowment) to undertake massive capital construction projects that caused pain and suffering for the school. To the contrary, those 16 students might learn something interesting from their project that could complement nicely what they learn from a textbook like Principles of Microeconomics by Harvard Professor N. Gregory Mankiw.
Union, a liberal arts college that enrolls about 2,100 students, has also nudged the revitalization along by buying and restoring more than two dozen ramshackle houses across from its campus. It purchased a struggling Ramada Inn, turning it into a new dorm, and transformed a polluted site into new athletic fields.
A group of 16 students who are part of an independent study project led by an economics professor, Harold Fried, plan to open a combined boutique and coffeehouse downtown this year.
What little Union has done in Schenectady can, of course, be a model for what Harvard can do in Allston.
If one of the 66 professors in Harvard's Econ department or someone at the Business School (which has 228 full-time faculty) wanted to, don't you think they could lead a project with a group of students to open a little business on Western Ave?
Networking Social & Evening with State Senate Candidates « The Fab Empire - Boston Fab
I do wonder how she expects this to happen. It was nice that she and other Harvard leaders had breakfast with those of us on the BRA's Task Force. That was more than a month ago, and I wonder what Harvard thinks the next step is on the road to "the best set of neighbor relations". Seems like a good opportunity to repeat this great quote that I posted recently on the subject of trust:
Planned improvements at Caritas hospitals - Boston.com
"This year alone, city employee health insurance costs will top $275 million, making it the city’s second-largest budget account after the schools."
Vacant Allston Property Leased | The Harvard Crimson
Strange to have the meeting in North Allston, 2.5 miles from the Fanueil Library which is the one that many people think is on the verge of being closed. People who live near the Honan might be less inclined to take an evening to discuss the potential closing of the Fanueil which would have little direct impact on them.
A meeting in Oak Square would likely be much more popular.
April 7 there will be an online chat at www.bpl.org
"According to Faust, major capital campaigns are beneficial for the University not only because they raise funds but because the force administrators to set priorities"
University Plans Capital Campaign The Harvard Crimson
Other times, I think he is so right. Case in point is Thursday's column about rampant skepticism and contempt and dysfunction in modern society. He quotes the British writer Phillip Blond who wrote:
"We are a bi-polar nation, a bureaucratic, centralised state that presides dysfunctionally over an increasingly fragmented, disempowered and isolated citizenry."Maybe it isn't quite that bad, but his ideas for reform sound like good ones:
- passing zoning legislation to give small shopkeepers a shot against the retail giants
- reducing barriers to entry for new businesses
- revitalizing local banks
- encouraging employee share ownership
- setting up local capital funds so community associations could invest in local enterprises
- rewarding savings
- cutting regulations that socialize risk and privatize profit
- reducing the subsidies that flow from big government and big business.
- reduce the power of senior government officials and widen the discretion of front-line civil servants
- decentralize power, giving more budget authority to the smallest units of government
- funnel more services through charities
- increase investments in infrastructure, so that more places could be vibrant economic hubs.
- rebuild the “village college” so that universities would be more intertwined with the towns around them.
The idea that insurers can revoke a sick person's policy is revolting, and I appreciate Rep. Capuano supporting the health care reform bill to end abuses like this and help us move towards a more just and compassionate social policy.
Blue Mass. Group:: My Decision on Health Care by: RepMikeCapuano
25 Goodenough Street: Erect a roof over existing walls, allow use as storage for construction equipment, and continue use as storage for towed vehicles.
141 Nottinghill Road: Create off street parking for two vehicles
269R Everett Street: Demolish existing garage and erect a new garage
If decision makers at Harvard spent a few minutes pondering 'What policies in Allston would produce the greatest happiness?', would Western Ave look the way it does?
How to start an art revolution - The Boston Globe
What if Harvard established a fine arts degree, offering teaching positions to internationally known artists and providing their students warehouse studios in Allston?
For a relatively small investment, the university could convert some of its holdings in Allston into a program that would bring in world-class artists (with their ambitious students), make better use of its soon-to-be-unified museum system, and put the school on par with Yale and Columbia universities, which already have highly influential masters of fine arts programs. This would not only transform a neighborhood and raise the cultural profile of the school, it would be exactly the kind of gesture that could rouse the city’s other players into action.
What if one of the universities helped the ICA secure a satellite location in a cheaper neighborhood, the way New York’s Museum of Modern Art runs the dynamic P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in Queens? Imagine ICA Lower Allston.
Longfellow, which is beautiful bridge, uses the configuration shown below that could also be used on the re-built Western and River St bridges - a strong barrier between the road and sidewalk with an artistic railing on the other side of the sidewalk.
As part of the Longfellow reconstruction that will start next year and is a "signature component" of the same Accelerated Bridge Program that will rebuild the Western & River St bridges, "the bridge's ornate pedestrian railings will be restored or replicated". Western & River have solid concrete walls instead of ornate pedestrian railings, and their reconstruction is the perfect opportunity to replace them with something more beautiful.
In the 2 1/2 years since Harvard bought the Western Ave CITGO station there hasn't been much good happening there, though a year ago it seemed that Clover Food Lab might move in and Harvard told us last summer that we might be on the verge of something.
Now, in what is hopefully a sign of much more to come, a contractor has been working on the building for the past couple days. The walls are freshly painted white and maybe something productive will happen there sooner rather than later.
Meet Boston’s dirty dozen - BostonHerald.com
Samia Properties of Brighton, which owes $14,850 for 104 tickets
Landlord Joseph A. Ciliberti of Florida, whose multiple properties in Allston were hit with 203 tickets for which he owes $23,040.
2) For filing the Shareholder Protection Act to require a shareholder vote before corporate funds can be spent on political activity.
In What Can We Trust? - Opinionator Blog - NYTimes.com
"I’d say that trust is about reciprocity. About establishing a pattern of communication and then cooperative volleys that get coated by emotional and moral commitment."http://www.amazon.com/Rules-Break-Laws-Follow-Short-Termism/dp/0470227540
Granted, Western Ave doesn't have the cachet of Fenway Park that they have over on Boylston St, but we do have the river and Harvard nearby which should be worth something. But these days Boylston has the momentum and Western Ave has a stalled Science Complex.
Cambridge city councilor Decker withdraws from state Senate race - Cambridge, Massachusetts - Cambridge Chronicle