I have difficulty understanding the Staff’s position with respect to the possibility of new Allston undergraduate Houses (Editorial, “Allston Plans Gone Awry,” Sept. 23). The riverfront sites that have been discussed for undergraduates will be among the most attractive anywhere on campus, as close to the Yard as the existing Quad Houses, and considerably closer to the main cluster of existing undergraduate housing. They will also be at the epicenter of Harvard’s future expanded campus (whereas the existing Quad Houses will be increasingly peripheral), thereby providing superb access to a cornucopia of resources and amenities we can only begin to imagine today.
The Staff does raise an important point about the need for dramatic improvements in the safety and amenity of pedestrian movement across the river (including, very likely, a new pedestrian bridge), and the Staff might have added the need for direct pedestrian access from any new undergraduate houses to the riverfront as well. These are indeed critical planning and design issues, but to dismiss out of hand the potential benefits of an undergraduate presence in Allston—both to the particular students who may live there and the Harvard more generally of future generations—seems extraordinarily premature.
Sept. 24, 2003
The author is Stanton professor of urban policy and planning.