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Harvard Graduate School of Design hosted an event discussing Harvard’s expansion into Allston from an urban-planning perspective Tuesday.
The event, which took place in the Gund Hall, featured presentations by Alex Kreiger, an urban design professor, and Marika E. Reuling, the managing director for Allston initiatives at Harvard.
A panel of stakeholders — including Harvard Allston Land Company CEO Thomas P. Glynn III, urban designer Martin S. Zogran, Boston cultural planning director Courtney D. Sharpe, and real estate firm managing director Rustom A. Cowasjee — also discussed Harvard’s vision for Allston.
The event took place as the University prepares to open its newest additions to the Allston campus in 2020. The ongoing relocation of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences to North Allston has brought extensive physical development to the neighborhood, which has been met with concerns from students and residents alike.
Harvard has released some of its plans for future development in Allston, including details about the Enterprise Research Campus, for which Cowasjee’s firm — Tishman Speyer — was recently announced as the “preferred developer.”
Design School Dean Sarah M. Whiting provided a brief introduction to the event, and Krieger presented on the history of Harvard and Allston.
He described the planning that went into designing Harvard’s next steps and discussed the University’s efforts to get to know the neighborhood, as well as the potential consequences of climate change on the development.
Reuling then presented the overall timeline for Allston development and discussed the University’s larger goals in expanding the campus.
“We have increased opportunity to think about how our teaching and research ecosystem here in the Greater Boston area can really create innovative change and the ways in which our physical planning and placemaking can create those opportunities as well,” she said.
Glynn said the University is looking to create an active development with strong ties to the neighborhood.
“What we’re trying to accomplish is a place that isn’t a 9 to 5 suburban office park that happens to be based on Western Avenue,” he said. “We really want to capture something that is active seven days a week and active 14, 16 hours a day.”
Others discussed the University’s attempts to make the development welcoming to community members and responsive to issues of affordable housing.
“They’re just trying to make it like a really great space that isn’t just strictly for Harvard use, but for the community in general,” Megan M. Mandosa, an attendee said.
Some attendees said they were excited about what Harvard’s next steps mean for the area.
“It’s a huge opportunity to redefine that part of the city,” Alykahn Mohamed, an urban planner at Sasaki who attended the event, said.
—Staff writer Elizabeth H. Gellert can be reached at email@example.com.
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