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Thread: Columbia University Campus Expansion - Manhattanville

  1. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by antinimby
    As for the students that may possibly be dismayed by the sight of auto repair shops, they should realize that this is what the real world is and that's what makes an education one receives in a New York-based university even more valuable and enriching. You are exposed to the living, breathing world instead being cocooned on a sleepy campus.
    Maybe, but I'm not sure skidding around on grease slicks has lasting educational value.

  2. #62

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    they should realize that this is what the real world is and that's what makes an education one receives in a New York-based university even more valuable and enriching. You are exposed to the living, breathing world instead being cocooned on a sleepy campus
    Auto-repair shops are not the quintessence of a "New York-based university education" or of New York in general, where car transportation is not an integral part of most people's (especially students') lives, and where streetscapes are hardly defined by lowrise garages. These are not the elements which make New York a great or attractive city. Nor, I doubt, will the "realisation" of such come swiftly for those with the ability to choose between such a mess of a campus and the bucolic splendour of, say, Princeton. Many find Columbia attractive now because it offers the city just outside the gates of a traditionally "Arcadian" campus.

    President Bollinger has repeatedly stated that he's unwilling to compromise on the issue of the adoption of Columbia's comprehensive plans only, and for good reason. The question, though, is whether the university can afford to have the community pull its bluff, as it has few other expansion options. Nevertheless, I think Bollinger and others in the administration are savvy enough to realise that the university, were it to become diffuse, would work better as a diffuse institution in lively, urban Morningside Heights and Manhattan Valley than within a bizarre, alien landscape of light industry surviving in Manhattanville. So while development by fiat via eminent domain is unlikely, Columbia does not necessarily need to compromise with these people either.

  3. #63

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    Here's an idea: you can fix cars in a multi-story garage, right? You can accommodate all the other Manhattanville functions, too. Bundle them all in one building. Call it the Manhattanville Building, and let Columbia and the city get on with their progress.

  4. #64

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    Amazingly, even after Columbia offered to move them practically wherever they wanted, the tenants insist on staying put, the businesses insisting Manhattanville's location is integral to their success and the residents clinging to it as their beloved home. Manhattanville Building? Don't you know that if you so much as move an ounce of dirt there and you've declared a race/class war on all of Harlem?

  5. #65

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    If you own a successful family business or a home, why should Columbia force you to move? Eminent domain is evil, particularly so that a private university (one I attended, fyi) can make a land grab. Let Columbia purchase the land for its new campus on the free market, just like everyobody else in this City does, and if not everyone wants to move, so much the better. As Jane Jacobs teaches, purely academic college campuses are never very good vehicles for urban development, in the way that campuses integrated with the City are. Robert Moses is dead, but apparently his evil spirit still lives on at COlumbia.

  6. #66

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    Though most Columbians would argue, conversely, that a university purely integrated with the city is not preferential for academic development- otherwise they would have chosen NYU.

    In any case, eminent domain is not "evil," nor is it Columbia's instrument to use. It's the prerogative of a government committed to utilitarian principles. Its legitimacy derives from the fact that it can only be carried out by the popularly elected state government, which prevents potential employment of it from being obstructed by local interest groups with powerful influence within the city government and ensures that it is used only to enhance the broadest possible public interest. Nevermind the planned shops and open streets that are to be included in the new campus- to provide such a benefit Columbia does not have to be friendly to its urban context (which in Manhattanville will, if the plan is fully carried out, consist primarily of rail viaducts and towers-in-the-park projects anyway) but productive as an institute of education, research, and innovation. If an incubative, aesthetically pleasing campus is what serves such ends, then those are the ends the state will embrace, and they trump the right of stubborn propertyholders (especially when many are merely greedy landlords waiting for a better offer or the chance to evict their existing tenants anyway in order to welcome Columbia students- why shed tears for these people when rental tenants in New York have so few rights comparatively?) to maintain their rights to land when more than just compensation has been offered (which is really just the transmission of property from hard to liquid assets). I asked many people I know who were against the expansion if they would have attended Columbia were its campus littered with random auto repair garages or tenements, and they uncomfortably answered in the negative. NYU's expansion is confronted constantly with allegations of institutional imperialism, and it rarely uses eminent domain and certainly embraces an approach that integrates its campus with the city.

    Where are New York's universities to go? Will higher education in the city be forever hampered by space concerns?

  7. #67

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    BTW, do you live in Battery Park City? That's hardly a model of integration with the city itself...

  8. #68

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    Exactly how many auto shops are refusing to sell to Columbia, czsz? You make it sound like there are dozens.

    This isn't a instance where eminent domain should be used, in my opinion. The campus can be created around the hold outs.

    However, I'm not against properly used eminent domain. I don't know the conditions of the hold out properties, but if they are truly deteriorated or creating the physical deterioration of the surrounding properties and city infrastructure, the city should evaluate whether the properties are blight. This should be done on a case by case basis, though. The whole area shouldn't be taken by eminent domain simply because Columbia wants to expand there.

  9. #69

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    Quote Originally Posted by czsz
    BTW, do you live in Battery Park City? That's hardly a model of integration with the city itself...
    BPC was built on landfill. Only the Hudson River, and some rotting piers, pre-existed its creation. Whether you like or dislike the neighborhood, its existence teaches us nothing about the wisdom and justice of Columbia's threatened use of eminent domain in Manhattanville.

    BTW, just to be clear, I believe that Columbia's new campus will be a boon to West Harlem and to the City. But I also believe (unlike 5 members of the current Supreme Court) that public takings for private use is unconstitutional, and immoral to boot.

  10. #70

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    There are quite a few, from what I remember walking down Broadway alone. From a blog by a guy who researches the neighbourhood: "Today, Manhattanville west of Broadway is largely auto repair shops, warehouses, a couple of moving and storage places, the Fairway supermarket, a beer distributor, and a few meat markets on 12th Ave." Note that the Fairway and 12th Ave. are outside the expansion zone.

    How many of you have been to/seen Manhattanville? I ought to do a proper photo tour for the forum. Here are some internet images in the meanwhile...


    This is actually outside the expansion zone, which is behind the viaduct, but it gives a sense of the area's desolation. The big apartment building in the background is also outside the zone, although residents fear rising rents.




    Under the viaduct.


    Under the subway viaduct (the projects in the background will remain untouched).


    The 125th St. station arch. The background buildings are outside the expansion zone.


    The redbrick building will be preserved for Columbia's administration. The projects in the background will remain as well. Everything else in this shot is targeted for demolition.


    This place has moved to a new location.


    There are some cobblestone streets and old trolley tracks in Manhattanville. I don't know if they're to be retained or not.


    The new Cotton Club is not related to its ancestor, which was deeper into Harlem. It's outside the expansion zone, and its owner is looking forward to Columbia's business.


  11. #71

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    The orangey building at right is the MTA bus depot which has created some thorny problems for the expansion itself.




    Abandoned motel.


    This is/was some kind of chemical company. Appears abandoned.


    The Studebaker building to be restored and used by Columbia.






    Southern end of the expansion zone. Everything here goes.


    130th St. Everything you see goes.

  12. #72

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    http://neighbors.columbia.edu/pages/...ent/index.html

    Through design principles that emphasize safety, access, pedestrian use, architectural transparency, and open space, the proposed campus in Manhattanville would offer an open and welcoming environment that integrates the University with the rest of the community. Several of the design features were developed in response to community feedback and drawn from recommendations made in the 2002 West Harlem Piers Master Plan developed by a collaboration between New York City's Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and a working committee consisting of several city, state, and local community representatives.


    Elements of the Campus Design

    Enhanced Access

    Keep all existing streets open to vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

    Design streets and sidewalks to minimize the presence of vehicular traffic and reflect the pedestrian nature of the community.

    Set back buildings from the property line on most east-west streets and along Twelfth Avenue to expand views and create wider sidewalks and more open pedestrian space.

    Community Services

    Plan space for retail stores, restaurants, and other community services on the ground floors of all buildings along West 125th Street, Broadway, and Twelfth Avenue.

    Open Space

    Create a major north-south midblock passage and a 1.5-acre open space between West 130th and 131st Streets, where people can meet and relax in an outdoor setting.

    Use glass as the primary building material at the street level to create a feeling of transparency allowing pedestrians to see into and around the corners of buildings and contributing to a safe and open environment.

    Increase tree plantings and provide new lighting and furniture along streets and throughout the campus.

    Historic Preservation

    Preserve and renovate Prentis Hall at 632 West 125th Street, the Studebaker Building at 615 West 131st Street, and the Nash Building at 3280 Broadway.

    Environmental Stewardship

    Incorporate conservation principles into the design of the proposed Manhattanville campus, including an underground "energy center" from which the heating and cooling capacity for a major part of the development will be distributed.

    Develop parking, central loading / unloading, and utility facilities underground to reduce demand for on-street parking and alleviate street congestion caused by deliveries.

  13. #73

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    "Columbia owns, is under contract to purchase, or is in long-term lease relationships for over half the land under consideration, including such buildings as Prentis Hall, 560 Riverside Drive, and 615 W 131st Street. Public agencies such as the MTA, Verizon, and Con Edison own an additional 20%. The University is currently negotiating with owners in the area to acquire additional property."


  14. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by czsz
    "Columbia owns, is under contract to purchase, or is in long-term lease relationships for over half the land under consideration, including such buildings as Prentis Hall, 560 Riverside Drive, and 615 W 131st Street."
    This will be an interesting project to follow: thanks for the photos czcz. I added a Wikimap tag for 'Manhattanville'. http://www.wikimapia.org/#y=40744916...9&z=13&l=0&m=s

    This is a link to a website with some additional infromation on the area.

    Manhattanville: one of ‘old new yorks’ original 19th century villiages.







    Last edited by infoshare; June 4th, 2006 at 10:24 PM.

  15. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by ablarc
    Maybe, but I'm not sure skidding around on grease slicks has lasting educational value.
    Lol. It's not about the auto shops. It's about going to school while also encountering the aspects of life that may or may not be pleasant but they are what one will have to deal with after graduating. They offer more enriching and broader experiences than say, going to a suburban, park-like campus with frat guys talking about the football game.

    Schools with the traditional "green" campuses are a dime a dozen. If Columbia is wise, they should use their location within a very urban environment to their advantage instead of looking at it like it's a liability or something to be ashamed of.

    Like some others here have said, this is one case, where I don't believe eminent domain should even be considered, much less used. Sure, the area in questions is depressed as czsz's pictures clearly show. There's no argument about that. In fact, what is needed here is a boost, a spark, so to speak. And this is where Columbia can help. But what is not needed is for Columbia to come in and whitewash this whole area and turn it into another dull campus.

    I've heard that they have acquired about 60% of the properties in the area. They should just build what they need to on what they've got now. They can go to other nearby neighborhoods to meet their other 40% land requirement. It doesn't all have to be within that plot outlined in their plan. The other plots holding out are either businesses that are successful and if not they could be used for other purposes such as residential and commercial, other than educational. A mixture of purposes in the neighborhood is what will make it and Columbia successful ultimately.

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