Ready! Take Aim! Fire!~ The University of Chicago Shoots Itself in the Other Foot
The University of Chicago seems to be incredibly ham-fisted when it comes to recognizing the value of community resources and public spaces. This morning I came across this contribution by Jamie Kalven to The Huffington Post. It seems the University is intent on evicting a community garden - and the robust set of associations that revolve around it - so that they can use the parcel of land as a staging area for a construction project. Kalven is sensible and articulate about the University. The administration apparently is populated by people who, while maybe polite and well-intentioned, seem have no clue whatsoever. Among the problems from which Hyde Park has suffered throughout the years is an emaciated 'community' and anemic 'public space.' Here the University is going out of its way to exercise it property rights in a way that will undermine the prospects even further. Worse. The construction project for which the garden land will be taken over is - you guessed it - going to produce a building that will house the Seminary Coop Bookstore.
While I do not want to get carried away with the virtues of gardening - what I think of as adults playing in the dirt - it is clear that the University is more concerned with community in the abstract than what it looks like in reality.