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Harvard Administrators Discuss Allston Development at Ed Portal

Harvard administrators met at the Harvard Ed Portal Monday evening to discuss University developments in Allston.
Harvard administrators met at the Harvard Ed Portal Monday evening to discuss University developments in Allston. By Megan M. Ross
By Peter E. O'Keefe, Crimson Staff Writer

A group of Harvard administrators discussed the impacts of recent and upcoming University developments in Allston at a public event at the Harvard Ed Portal Monday evening.

University Executive Vice President Katie N. Lapp, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Dean Francis J. Doyle III, and Harvard Allston Land Company CEO Thomas P. Glynn III spoke alongside moderator and Boston City Councilor Mark S. Ciommo. They discussed affordable housing and the resources Harvard offers to Allston and Brighton residents, such as the Ed Portal.

The event came ahead of the opening of Harvard’s new SEAS building in Allston in the fall of 2020 and ongoing development of the proposed Enterprise Research Campus – a University initiative intended to foster collaboration between Harvard-affiliated research projects and “research-focused” companies.

Around 80 people attended the event, which began with remarks from Harvard’s Vice President for Public Affairs and Communication Paul Andrew and Ed Portal mentor Grace C. Eysenbach ’20. Each member of the panel also shared their perspective on Harvard’s development in Allston, followed by a question and answer session with Ciommo.

Lapp spoke about Harvard’s history of and commitment to providing programs and resources to Allston-Brighton residents, mentioning University projects including the Ed Portal and the ArtLab, which opened earlier this fall. She described the projects as “a variety of ways which take previously inaccessible areas of Allston and making them inviting places where people can live.”

Doyle showed a short video of the new SEAS building and discussed the potential benefits of having SEAS faculty and students “under one roof” in Allston. He also highlighted a section of SEAS’s mission statement which mentions its “societal impact” globally and locally.

“We went further to delineate this and say this was a societal impact to the world, to the nation and to our local community,” Doyle said.

“We’ve really found a community partner,” he added.

Glynn said he hopes the ERC will become a “destination” in Allston. He also discussed similarities and differences between MIT’s developments in Kendall Square and Harvard’s aims for the ERC.

He also responded to a question about Harvard’s efforts to promote affordable housing in Allston, saying he hopes the residential component of the development will exceed the city of Boston’s mandate that developers must set aside 13 percent of new units for affordable housing.

“We've indicated to the developers in their applications that we thought that was the minimum. We encouraged them to be bolder than that, and I think they've all been responsive,” he said.

To end the evening, Ciommo thanked the audience for attending despite snowy weather, calling the discussion “one of probably many future ones.”

—Staff writer Peter E. O’Keefe can be reached at peter.o' Follow him on Twitter @CrimsonOKeefe.

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