Prediction: By the year 2030, all of Allston/Brighton, Fenway, Roxbury and the South End will be college campuses
By adamg on Thu, 12/06/2007 - 8:56am
Over in Allston/Brighton, Harvard, BU and now BC are busy carving up the neighborhood. Meanwhile, over in Roxbury, Northeastern and residents are towning and gowning like nobody's business: Chris Lovett reports on a hearing on how the Boston Redevelopment Authority let Northeastern take over a subsidized-housing project on the South End/Roxbury line. While the university says it thinks it can let it remain as is until 2023, nobody seems convinced:
Said (Councilor Sam) Yoon, "I want residents to go home tonight feeling they're going to be OK, for at least three months."
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I am out
i grew up here and cannot take it any longer.I move into my new house in the suburbs this weekend.brighton used to be a nice mix of families and students. now it is all assholes.farewell brighton.
brighton is full of
brighton is full of assholes. lots of asshole students, neighbors, college admins, and city councilors. they all think they are the most important and can't get along. too bad no one is willing to come up with a real compromise. this falls on the city as much as the colleges.
Someone really needs to make
Someone really needs to make a Conquest/Risk-style game set in Boston, with the schools as armies. I predict big sales!
That's an excellent idea
I love it. Thanks.
I wouldn't yet say that BC
I wouldn't yet say that BC is carving up the neighborhood. Maybe I'm biased, but I live in Brighton, in addition to being an alum and working there, so I feel I can somewhat speak to all sides of this argument. Anyways, carving up, I wouldn't say that about BC. There was one large piece of property that belonged to someone and now that one large piece of property belongs to someone else. If we were buying up houses and streets maybe. Don't get me wrong, I understand this is a huge expansion, I just don't agree with the use of the phrase carving up.
Though, that's coming from another Alum. When I saw the feature in the Globe, I noted that the expansion was all on either BC's original footprint or on the archdiocese's land. I don't deny that developing the Lake Street property will impact the neighborhood, but they aren't exactly carving up residential Brighton to do it. Other schools ARE buying places people live with the long-term goal of kicking them out. BC's not doing that. Not yet, at least. They needed land, and they found an opportunity to do so without displacing commercial or residential properties. Admitedly, they've got some bad priests to thank, but there you have it. I think the, "I don't want to be close to students" argument is rather bizarre here. I mean, the school is just building across the street. Its hardly a new resident in the neighborhood. There are already students living there.
I think that the city should really get down on the colleges for expanding into the neighborhoods so much, as they not only destroy the very character of a neighborhood(s), but they drive the rents/property values sky-high, so that many of the life-time and longtime residents of the afflicted neighborhoods can no longer afford to live there. That's unfortunate, because having a healthy mix of locals and out-of-town college students is healthy. There has to be some way to get a good, healthy decent balance.
I think it'd be responsible of colleges to devote some study to the impact of their decisions on the surrounding communities. They've got the intellectual resources and the foot soldiers (students).
Personally, I think the colleges should attempt to keep most undergraduates in dorms. Dorms are higher-density housing than most of Boston, so they'd reduce the spread into the neighborhoods.
If the cost to the student of living in a dorm is less than the cost to the student of living in an apartment, they'll be more likely to stay in them. Jacking up the dorm prices to throw more students into the neighborhoods exports externalities like antisocial behavior off-campus.
I agree, this is mostly an issue of students living on campus. Universities can, and do, make rules about who may live on campus and who may live off campus so the universities, in effect, control this element of their impact on the community. It is simply a question of building dorms sufficient to house the majority of your students.
This is not to say that dorms are the only issue. Some universities want to, and must, expand into their surrounding neighborhoods to build non-dorm facilities: labs, academic buildings, athletic complexes, new post-graduate schools. This is mostly the impact that Alston and Brighton feel from Harvard. I think this is a tougher issue because you can't keep a university land locked when it needs new facilities and expect them either to stick around or to play nice with the community on other issues. Moreover, the universities often want to expand onto marginally used land that they can get at a lower cost than, say, purchasing and demolishing 100 houses but that no one else is going to buy because of proximity to a conflicting use (highway, rail yard) or because of needed environmental remediation that only a 501(c)(3) can get grants for (industrial land). This is at least true for much of the land around Northeastern along the southwest corridor. For Harvard's expansion into Boston I think its a tougher issue.
Boston is a college town, with the expension of the colleges comes jobs for people as well. Colleges and hospitals provide a lot of jobs for people. Subsidized housing is great but when you have neighborhoods full of it, you also create a ghetto type environment. How much subsidized housing does Mission Hill and the south end need? Northeastern has been nothing but a good neighbor by turning blighted area's into space for research and centers of education as well as dorms for students. In my opinion we here in Boston are lucky to have such universities here.
Be careful what you wish for.
What Boston do you live in?
Those jobs are either high-paying (not so many jobs) or very low-paying (many many jobs), with very little in-between. How much subsidized housing does MH or the SE need? Way more than they have. There is an insanely long wait to get into affordable housing due to a shortage of units across the city. Mixed-income might be a better solution rather than picking one over the other. Also, turning blighted areas into university-only use facilities does nothing but build even higher the barriers between universities and the often economically depressed neighborhoods they are expanding into.
Boston has three growth industries (maybe four)
Sorry, I have to say, the more students the better.
Boston has three growth industries: students, sick people, and tourists. We need to do everything we can to encourage more and more of them to visit here.
Yes, hospitals and colleges don't pay property taxes. w/e. And, yes, tourists come in and dump on our city and take off, leaving little behind.
But they spend lots of money, all three of them, and they depend on an incredible number of people - teachers, nurses, doctors, bartenders, waiters, etc.
We need to figure out a way to keep them all happy while not impeding upon our (residents') lifestyles.
But, I'm willing to accept them, almost carte blanche.
(The fourth growth industry is mutual funds / financial services, but I'm never sure if that's gonna stick around.)
Nothing will change until...
... Menino is gone and the BRA is gutted or better yet, replaced with an agency that is subject to checks and balances by the communities affected by university expansion. Then and only then will things get a little bit better. I say this as a former Harvard employee 10+ year resident of Lower Allston, home to an insane amount of property that has been purchased (and still is being purchased) by Harvard - most of it is commercial, tenants evicted, and left vacant.