Communication Breakdown

Dialogue is an essential component of Allston construction

Construction, truck noise, and bright lights after six o’clock have led Allston residents to complain about the Harvard Allston Science Complex. Although Harvard had previously agreed to work only from 7 AM to 6 PM, the city’s Inspectional Services Department issued a permit allowing construction until 8 PM. Harvard University has since apologized, but this issue brings attention once again to the need of the University to communicate with the residents of the area if it wants to cultivate good relations.

Harvard has already talked about putting future programs into place, benefiting residents in the future. Among these was a Harvard Allston Education Portal which would offer after school tutoring and lectures. These ideas are clear steps indicating that Harvard is proactively trying to contribute to the community. Now as construction is a long-term project the most important and present need is for Harvard to work together with Allston as much as is practically feasible. This would involve using the Harvard Construction Mitigation website and the Allston-Harvard Task Force to communicate to the days it has deemed necessary to work after hours.

A few extra hours is the kind of small inconvenience often essential to the construction process. Important steps such that are now taking place need to be done in continuous blocks. For example, pouring concrete is a process that should not be interrupted and may require extra hours after six o’clock . Harvard should not cut corners in building this new addition to the campus.

As can be seen by Harvard’s attempts to minimize noise, dust, and vibration caused by the construction, Harvard is making every effort to make the new Science Complex as painless as possible. The after-hour construction was not an insidious action. Construction is always a logistical nightmare, and mix-ups are to be expected. In order to make this process as efficient as possible, it is necessary to allow those in charge of construction to exercise their expertise on when construction should be done.

It is Harvard’s duty to keep channels of communication prompt and open. However the need to work together does not exclude the need to allow those with the appropriate knowledge and skills to control the details of construction.