The project analyzes the data available about the Harvard endowment and general economic information about Cambridge and Boston to see the effect of Harvard's expansion as a University on the cities.
The final product is an article that explains the methodology of analysis, as well as the conclusions. The last section of this article is particularly useful:
First, you'll need to install pip if you don't have it.
Then, to install the requirements for the analysis, type the following in your terminal, at this directory.:
pip install -r requirements.txt
The analysis is separated into 5 Jupyter Notebooks. To run any of them, type
in your terminal, at this directory, then navigate to the desired file using that interface.
As this analysis and general intuition shows, Harvard University has a massive effect on the cities it is in. The presence of the University, and its ever-growing demand for space and resources, radically changes the people in these communities, and thus the culture and essential character of these communities. In short, the gentrification of Cambridge is an effect of Harvard's expansion.
Harvard, MIT, and Cambridge are often thought of as one, but there are people within the city that do not have access to the resources of these Universities, but are affected negatively by their presence. Businesses and families have been priced out, making the way for more capital-rich businesses and entities tied to the universities. These universities also refuse to pay anywhere close to the full amount of the PILOT, further offsetting the burden of operation onto the residents.
Harvard University is quite aware of their impact and the possible backlash they may face from residents. Allston residents have long been uncomfortable with these expansions, forcing Harvard to make property purchases under fake names. Former head of Harvard Real Estate Inc. and former vice-president for administration, Sally Zeckhauser, said that as Harvard expanded within Cambridge, it began bumping against:
"mature neighborhoods with sophisticated and politically active residents often seeking to preserve things just as they were.”
This was the rationale for moving to other cities. They had already displaced people who were "unsophisticated" and "politically inactive," which are dog-whistles for low-income people of color, so it was time to move on. Where to? Allston.
The solution to these problems is outside of the scope of this analysis and article, but one can start by challenging Harvard as it expands, and supporting low-income people of color and their businesses in these cities. It is especially important for students, who often only experience the positive sides of Harvard's expansion, to support these communities. Check out Cambridge's registry of small businesses owned by women and people of color, and find ways to support and get involved.
Hakeem Angulu - Harvard College Class of 2020
This project is licensed under the Apache 2.0 License - see the LICENSE file for details.
- The Harvard Open Data Project (HODP)
- The Harvard Property Information Resource Center (PIRC)