The Science Complex Cooperation Agreement describes these "new pathways and landscaped entrances" to the Ed Portal as part of $1.8 million dollars in community benefits that Harvard would invest in Barry's Corner.
"In the fall 2008, Harvard created a new plaza in Barry’s Corner in front of the Education
Portal including landscaping and streetscape improvements."
I mention all this because it is an example of how nice-sounding community benefits sometimes don't work out all that well. There was no public process to design this "plaza", and I don't think the result is all that great. Has anyone ever said "Let's go hang out at the Ed Portal plaza this afternoon?".
And while most plazas are built to last decades, this "community benefit" will be demolished just 5 years after it was created to make way for the construction of the new Barry's Corner Apartments.