Skip to Content

Harvard University
North Allston Strategic Framework

In the wake of Harvard’s acquisition of over 100 acres of land, Goody Clancy embarked on an unprecedented strategic planning process resulting in a new model of city-institutional-community collaboration.

  • Location



A historic opportunity that goes far beyond traditional campus planning

When Harvard University announced its intention to concentrate future academic and research growth on 100 acres of acquired land in North Allston, uncertainty and fear permeated neighboring communities. Would the university’s expansion increase demand for scarce housing, threaten traditional jobs, exacerbate competition for open space, or increase traffic congestion?

Working on behalf of the City of Boston, Goody Clancy led a ground-breaking institutional-community collaboration process that resulted in the North Allston Strategic Framework. The Framework represented a shared vision of how the university and the community could grow together over time.

Former Mayor Thomas M. Menino launched the Framework to ensure growth reflected the collective vision, interests, and goals of all stakeholders.

Diminishing fears by enriching tradition and embracing change

Spanning over eight million square feet, the Framework encompassed a diverse range of academic, institutional, residential, commercial, retail, cultural, and open space uses. It put forth a set of guiding principles with the goal of enriching the quality of life in a traditional neighborhood, all while accommodating substantial housing growth and supporting the ambitious educational and cutting-edge research pursuits of a top-tier university.

The result is a set of ideas and goals that will shape North Allston’s future as a strong residential neighborhood, a vibrant area of economic activity, and an exciting hub of intellectual teaching and research.
Thomas M. MeninoFormer Mayor of Boston
The Framework accommodated both preservation and change by envisioning vibrant new mixed-use districts.

Taking stakeholder engagement to a whole new level

In order to represent the collective vision, interests, and goals of all major stakeholders, not just the university, Goody Clancy engaged in a deeply cooperative process involving: more than 80 one-on-one interviews; four walking tours; ten educational workshops; two community-wide charrettes; more than a dozen public meetings; and monthly working sessions with a community-based Planning Group.
As a result of this collaboration, the Framework offers a resonant model of the ways in which a legacy institution can be re-imagined as an integral part of the community within which it resides.

Extensive community participation gradually produced consensus among stakeholders around core values and the creation of mutual gains.

Building on the Framework

The Framework has provided the foundation for several subsequent rounds of detailed planning by the university which have resulted in the development of major new university facilities, new open spaces, a mixed-use commercial center shared by university and community, new affordable housing, arts and commercial facilities.
Taken together, the university and the Allston community are well on their way to accomplishing their vision embodied in the North Allston Strategic Framework.

Project impact
  • 80

    One-on-one interviews conducted to engage city residents and inform future initiatives

  • 10

    educational workshops facilitated on topics such as transportation, land use, housing, and economic development

The Framework represents a vision that will guide significant growth and change for one of the world’s foremost academic and research institutions…within the context of one of Boston’s most traditional and stable neighborhoods.
Rebecca BarnesFormer Chief Planner, Boston Redevelopment Authority

For more information about this project:

Share this project:

Project Team

Byrne McKinney & Associates

Community Design Partnership

Vollmer Associates

Back to top