Sunday, May 26, 2024

The plan to remake Kendall Square and other parts of the city should he held back until there’s more input from Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty, student and staff groups, according to an editorial in the current faculty newsletter.

“The process even failed to incorporate the advice and experience of MIT faculty who are national experts on urban development,” the editorial says, asking for a delay in a request for zoning changes until that’s corrected.

Like residents, the newsletter editors — 10 people, three of whom are identified as living in Cambridge — have housing complaints, and say “the very serious housing needs of our graduate students, staff, postdoctoral fellows, and (especially younger) faculty have been given low priority.” Although the plan calls for some 300 units, they resent that it called originally for only 60, suggesting the MIT Investment Management Corp. was ignoring analysis and the pleas of the Graduate Student Council.

Transportation have also been glossed over, they say, and “the proposal may violate prior agreements between MIT, the City of Cambridge, and the federal government, risking substantial liability.”

The main complaint, though, is that the proposal commits too much of the last remaining Cambridge land for commercial development instead of academic and lab space, and for decades to come, when the institute could add to its endowment by serving as developer and landlord for businesses pretty much anywhere in the world.

“Implementation of MITIMCo’s plan has the potential to do serious and irreversible damage to MIT’s future educational and research missions,” the editorial says.

The whole piece is here.