Harvard Hopes to Maintain Open Dialogue with Allston

To the editors:

Re: “Two Approaches to Campus Expansion,” news story, April 28.

The article does not accurately reflect the years of open collaboration with the City of Boston and our Allston neighbors to ensure that Harvard grows in a way that brings shared benefits to all.

Harvard’s work to plan for the needs of a dynamic university over the course of the next 50 years is in its earliest stages, where ideas are suggested and feedback is sought. Allston residents and Boston officials play a major role in that process.

We have been partners with the city and the community in the three-year process to create the North Allston Neighborhood Strategic Framework for Planning, which led to a broad vision for the neighborhood that will help guide our evolving plans. And during scores of public meetings over the past few years, the Allston Harvard Community Task Force and the city have helped guide and shape plans for a new Science Complex that will have an extraordinarily positive impact on many lives.

This collaboration continues through dialogue that happens daily—through task force and construction mitigation meetings, the comprehensive survey and needs assessment that will inform future programs and partnerships, and the countless informal conversations between Harvard’s staff and the community. As we begin more in-depth planning, these interactions will continue to guide our thinking.

We have listened and responded to the Allston community’s call for a stronger connection to the core strength of Harvard’s research and teaching by creating the new education portal as a first step in a much longer-term education-based partnership. We will work closely with the community to develop exciting new open spaces and introduce public realm improvements, just as we have provided significant support over the years for the improvement of various public parks, playgrounds, and the Honan Public Library. It is always our intention to be active listeners and to fully communicate.



Cambridge, Mass.

May 1, 2008

Kevin A. McCluskey is Harvard’s senior director of community relations in Boston. Kathy A. Spiegelman is the chief planner of Harvard’s Allston Development Group.