Thursday, February 08, 2007

Harvard Expansion Turns Columbia Crimson

Unlike the opaque folks up at Morningside Heights, it appears that the good burghers in Cambridge are really trying to accommodate the interests of the community into which the university is expanding. According to a report Harvard and the city of Boston "aim to balance the university's academic and residential needs with the surrounding community's..."

A key feature of this accommodation is the provision of affordable housing for local residents. As the Harvard Crimson reports, "Harvard has also provided $20 million in grants and low interest loans for development and purchase of affordable housing." Clearly, as the Spectator reports today the posture of Columbia is much less generous. As LDC head Pat Jones says about the university's letter to the board, "'I think it is rather vague and unspecific'...It makes no direct reference to the creation of affordable housing."

In addition, "The city's plan stresses the need to preserve local jobs and provide transitional help for workers and local businesses affected by Harvard's expansion..." Wow, a city concerned for local business, how refreshing! It appears that Mayor Bloomberg's concern for local business is restricted to the area of lower Manhattan, closer to Wall Street.