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University Development in Boston

Harvard’s massive expansion into Allston has had to be slowed down, in part because of the slowing economy.  Many in the neighborhood worry that means they’ll be left with a barren landscape for way too long, instead of the mixed use development Harvard has promised.

Meanwhile, in another part of the neighborhood, Boston College is battling some of its neighbors over plans to expand on the former Archdiocese Headquarters Campus.  This Friday at 1, Radio Boston will explore the responsibilities the city’s Universities have to the rest of the community.  Town/gown conflicts are an ongoing feature of our city, given its huge academic economy, and its traditional role as a home to some of the country’s best colleges.  What do you think about the relationship between Boston’s colleges, and the rest of the community?

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  • http://www.ericmauro.com Eric Mauro

    Dear Mark, This looks like an interesting show. What is the business of universities? It’s the processing of young people. The main similarity for these young people is the ability to get hold of $200,000 for the tuition either through cash or loans. For that money the students expect to have a college experience while they are in Boston, including meeting other people with $200,000, mating, and getting an education, either the education of a gentleman or the education of an ass.

    The physical development of a university is to provide that experience. There may be a place for the locals to slop grits in the dining hall, or mow the lawn, or work in the latte shop, but the university has very little interest in developing competitive power especially when it comes to real estate acquisition.

    What Boston has become and Brighton in particular is a place where the tax and regulatory systems discourage private growth in favor of the institutional growth. After all, who can compete with Harvard for land in Allston, when Harvard has a head start in never paying commercial real estate taxes? It goes hand-in-hand that a liberal institution like Harvard encourages through its Kennedy School high taxation and a high level of economic regulation. It’s a mercantile system for the expansion of university power at the expense of pesky private business.

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