Yesterday, the Globe came out with an editorial about area universities and their expansion plans.
I have to say, I was a bit underwhelmed.
It neither castigates nor praises the universities. Likewise, it neither castigates nor praises area residents nor neighbors.
… right now the city’s higher-education scene is whirling with 2,901 dormitory beds under construction and roughly 2,000 more under review or proposed. Residents of neighborhoods where colleges are expanding are understandably dizzy from all of the activity.
(Ha. Their quote of 2,901 beds comes right from my blog, I think … (you’re welcome!).)
But, as the Globe points out, and as we know, too well, colleges and residents don’t get along very well, a lot of the time.
Basically, because college kids make noise.
And, they take up a lot of the available housing stock.
And, they cause rents to spike (landlords can stack students on top of each other in their apartments and still gouge them).
Over the past several years, everyone’s been clamoring for universities to do something about students’ impact on the city. (Or, should I say, do something about the negative aspects of student impact.)
The Menino administration has pushed consistently for colleges to house their students in residence halls on campus. The policy is succeeding. According to the BRA, about 46,000 undergraduates at private colleges live in Boston, of whom more than 70 percent call a dorm room home.
But, of course, you can only please some of the people, some of the time.
Or, in the city of Boston, you can only please no one, most of the time.
A few, the most vocal, area residents weren’t happy when colleges had their kids renting rooms all over the city.
So, the colleges decided to build dormitories to house their students.
But, now, a few, the most vocal, area residents say that the colleges’ expansion plans are too aggressive, that the buildings are too big, the impact on their lives too great.
Basically, what many of these people want is for the colleges to stagnant, to stay the same size … or, really, to shrink.
In my opinion, having colleges and universities in the city is about 90% good and 10% bad. I want us to encourage growth, not discourage it.
Anyway, we need to work on this issue like reasonable people.
I think those against college expansion have the upper hand, right now. A lot of those people need to be swatted down. The other side needs a voice.
I’d like the Globe to come out a bit more on the side of Bostonians interested in growth, rather than writing milquetoast editorials which interest few and appease none.
Academic Sprawl – Boston Globe editorial
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