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TheBostonian

UMass Campus Center at Columbia Point

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Anyone familiar with the Umass Boston campus knows that it had been less than pretty. All the buildings faced inward and stood atop a giant two-story parking garage. The school was cut off from the beautiful physical setting that inlcudes a harbor walk and the JFK library. Then came the new $70,000,000-plus campus center. Yes, the state built it while the garage was, and still is, in desperate need of $50,000,000 in repairs. But I am astonished at how the addition of a building has dramatically improved the physical presence of the university. It downgrades the ugliness level of the other buildings to "forgivable." It connects the Umass complex to its surroundings.

http://www.umb.edu/campuscenter/tour/index.html

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I don't know much, but I always thought, while growing up, that that part of the city was ugly. Visiting the JFK Library, I wondered why it was placed there, and then why nothing had filled in around it that was decent. All that is really there is the residents of Dorchester. The school seemed to be a prison to me.

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heh, i just applied there.  :silly:

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I liked the UMass buildings because they reminded me of a fortress right on the ocrean protecting the bay and city. I'm sure that was the idea the achitect had. That being said, it sucks to get there and it really feels like it is in the middle of no where. It might be cool if they built housing along the edge and improve transit to and from the Point. I asked a guy who lived in the Harbour View Apartments and he said they were nice but there wasnt anything around. I think that Mt Vernon St could be built up as a nice boulivard.

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How far away from campus is the JFK/UMASS stop on the red line?

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The stop is at the beginning of the peninsula, near the expressway. I think they have a bus, but it's at least a mile to walk.

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The stop is at the beginning of the peninsula, near the expressway.  I think they have a bus, but it's at least a mile to walk.

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yikes! if i decide to transfer there, i will most likely take the T in. i hope there's some kind of shuttle bus from the station to the campus.

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yikes! if i decide to transfer there, i will most likely take the T in. i hope there's some kind of shuttle bus from the station to the campus.

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There is.

Remember that this area was once a trash dump with open, burning piles. It was mostly mashy and was always cut off by the railroad/highways. It wasn't until the min 20th century than anything was built there (excluding the sewer system) so it isn't surprising that it has a suburban office park feel.

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The shuttle bus, by the way, is fast, frequent and reliable. It looks like Phase II of the urban ring would bring BRT to Umass but Phase III won't bring rail to the peninsula.

I'd love to see some housing built at UMB, along with anything else that would enhance the site. I think college's have a great power to bring life to an area, but UMB's isolation doesn't let UMB bring anything anywhere.

I can only brainstorm ideas for how to change the area:

- Build up a street on the peninsula as a main street with commercial zoning for, ideally, cafes, book or music stores, bars and whatever else.

- Condense the outdoor parking lots into a garage with retail and offices on the outer parts of the structure that make it look least like a garage. (I think the Wellington master plan does this for the MBTA garage.)

- How to break the wall that rt 93 creates between Colmbia Point and the rest of the city? I have no idea.

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As places like Wellington Station and North Point in Cambridge are developed, it's only a matter of time before the UMass area takes off. The land, and it's harbour views are too valuable.

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As places like Wellington Station and North Point in Cambridge are developed, it's only a matter of time before the UMass area takes off. The land, and it's harbour views are too valuable.

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Hm. I didn't know about the North Point progress. I just remember seeing a huge open space and wondering why it was undeveloped. I'm starting a new topic for it.

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Hm.  I didn't know about the North Point progress.  I just remember seeing a huge open space and wondering why it was undeveloped.  I'm starting a new topic for it.

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Please do, I'm so busy in the Providence forum, I hardly have time for Boston. :( I'm about do for a visit actually.

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i live directly behind the JFK/UMass T stop and went to UMass this past school year. UMass has its own shuttle buses that come every few minutes that bring you to the campus in about 5 minutes give or take. i just don't understand why they didn't make it easier to access considering so many students there take the T. ah well, i'm not going there anymore anyway. (the school is great, but i found a different calling elsewhere).

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I never understood why so many colleges are so isolated. IMO, areas around them are hot spots for all kinds of retail, nightlife, 24 hour joints, etc. College students are such a diverse, nocturnal, needy crowd, yet so many college campuses are so isolated that freshman without cars have nothing better to do then sit around and smoke the reefer all day.

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Which college campuses are isolated? Not MIT, Harvard, BU, Northeastern, Emerson, Brown, or RISD... Maybe Brandeis or Wellesley?

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Which college campuses are isolated?  Not MIT, Harvard, BU, Northeastern, Emerson, Brown, or RISD...  Maybe Brandeis or Wellesley?

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Besides Umass Boston, Umass Dartmouth comes to mind. Maybe it is just some of the Umass campuses that were built in one breath that have a feeling of isolation. Umass Amherst would feel isolated if it weren't so huge and didn't contain so much on its own. But it is also nearly adjacent to downtown Amherst--a little bit of a hotspot. And Amherst College is right outside downtown. Also out in Pioneer Alley, Hampshire College seems away from things, but in a nice rural way. Smith College is perfectly located right next to downtown Northampton.

Another idea I have for improving the UMB campus:

Move the school's radio station (WUMB) out of the library basement and into the campus center lobby. There could be a window to the studio through which people could see the broadcasters live, just like the Emerson studio on Tremont St.

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Besides Umass Boston, Umass Dartmouth comes to mind.  Maybe it is just some of the Umass campuses that were built in one breath that have a feeling of isolation.  Umass Amherst would feel isolated if it weren't so huge and didn't contain so much on its own.  But it is also nearly adjacent to downtown Amherst--a little bit of a hotspot.  And Amherst College is right outside downtown.  Also out in Pioneer Alley, Hampshire College seems away from things, but in a nice rural way.  Smith College is perfectly located right next to downtown Northampton.

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Any school outside a major city is isolated by definition. Georgia Tech in Atlanta is a prime example of a campus in a city that is totally isolated, even though it is really in the middle of the city. There is really nothing around campus for the students to do. Now as for actual time to do those things if they were there, demanding Tech studies can limit that.

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Oh yeah I wasn't thinkin of really any colleges in Boston or Providence (besides maybe UMB, RIC), I was thinkin more along the lines of the suburban office park type campuses, like my own SUNY Albany. Sure its technically within the city limits of Albany, but its isolated the way huge office parks in the suburbs are.

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Oh yeah I wasn't thinkin of really any colleges in Boston or Providence (besides maybe UMB, RIC), I was thinkin more along the lines of the suburban office park type campuses, like my own SUNY Albany.  Sure its technically within the city limits of Albany, but its isolated the way huge office parks in the suburbs are.

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URI

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OK, this one is special. Notice the Hancock tower under construction in the background of this picture of the earlier stages of the construction of UMB. I've never seen a picture of the Hancock under construction.

img020.jpg

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