Author Archives: marcstauffer

Campus & Community

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The developers of East Campus are charged with creating an instant college town that will allow the University of Maryland to attract the faculty and students necessary to become one of the country’s top ten research universities. However, the project’s potential to act as a development catalyst for the area in a multiplicity of ways: architecturally, environmentally, culturally and socially, while succeeding commercially, is very important. Other universities, including a number of UMD’s top ten peers, are growing and some approach it as a long-term commitment to their neighboring communities. Although there are obvious differences, the planning process itself is worth examination as the East Campus Steering Committee continues to meet.

Harvard University’s Allston Initiative is a largely private, university endeavor. However, in a sense the university has partnered with the City of Boston in reconfiguring the 200+ acres it holds in Allston. From their website:

The Allston Initiative is the planning effort to create the framework for the University’s physical development in Allston. Our goal is to plan in a way that best supports Harvard’s academic mission and growth needs while ensuring that the new campus is an integral part of the broader urban community.

They hired a world class team to design and plan the Allston campus. Originally created in the late 1980s, the Allston master plan has since been amended a few times. The construction takes place over the next 25-50 years and includes moving professional schools from across the river, science lab buildings, undergrad housing and community areas.

The main task force, which has existed for many years, will follow along the entire development trip and meets at least once every month. Additional task forces focus on specific areas: professional schools, science and technology, Allston life, etc. The Allston Initiative adopted the university’s green campus initiative and accompanying programs.

Columbia University’s Manhattanville Initiative is also private; the university owns the 17 acres and is developing the parcels itself. The overall time frame is 20-30 years. Columbia already owns and manages a vast real-estate portfolio and hired a team including Renzo Piano and SOM to come up with a plan to present to the City and the neighborhood

The plan is to create a mixed-use community with academics at the center, not an expansion of the enclosed campus. Development would happen in phases, gradually moving north towards 135th street and west to the river. The community input process has been going for at least 5 years and Columbia’s relationship with the neighborhood is tense at best Continue reading

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Filed under Community, Developers, East Campus, Environment, Public Input