Judith Rodin transformed the relationship between the University of Pennsylvania and its Philadelphia neighborhood. What can she teach Lee Bollinger about Columbia and Harlem?
by Matthew Schuerman Published: July 31, 2007
Tags: Real Estate, The City, Columbia University, Judith Rodin, Lee Bollinger
This article was published in the August 6, 2007, edition of The New York Observer.t is not clear what exactly Judith Rodin, former president of the University of Pennsylvania, has been whispering in the ear of Columbia University President Lee Bollinger, but trust that it has something to do with Harlem.
Just as Columbia presses its case for its expansion into Manhattanville, Dr. Rodin, now president of the New York–based Rockefeller Foundation, has published a book on her decade at Penn, where she initiated a number of town-gown projects that both improved the surrounding neighborhood and eased animosity toward the Ivy League school. Ever since, she has been widely lauded as the arbiter of modern, enlightened community-university relations. When she announced she would leave Penn, the Philadelphia Daily News, a tabloid, put her photo on the cover above the words: “Judy! Judy! Judy!”
“He and I have talked several times,” Dr. Rodin said about Mr. Bollinger, without elaborating. “We’ve talked very minimally. The work is still ahead.”
Her book, The University & Urban Revival: Out of the Ivory Tower and Into the Streets (University of Pennsylvania Press), came out July 24. Already, Robert Kasdin, Columbia’s senior executive vice president, said he is reading it. Mr. Bollinger was traveling, but a spokesman said he had eagerly been awaiting its publication.
All of which should counter the refrain that some detractors of Columbia’s plan to rezone 17 acres of West Harlem for a third campus have been voicing recently, which is, “Do it like Penn!”
Penn, for example, donated land for a public school and helped plan and run it. The university set up a business-improvement district that picked up litter and brightened street lights. It gave university employees cash to buy homes near campus and invested in renovating rental buildings. This all happened, however, not to butter up neighbors for an expansion, but because crime and blight were threatening the university’s survival.
Columbia has been eyeing Penn’s example for a while: David Stone, who was hired last year as executive vice president for communications, worked for Dr. Rodin as a consultant on the West Philadelphia initiatives, and a couple of other high-level hires worked for Penn or are otherwise familiar with the collaborations.
“There are a number of us here now that were involved in the West Philadelphia initiatives who are here to ensure and clarify the focus that universities are important civic and economic actors in the community,” Mr. Stone said.
Free Registration Required.
Information is at the sub-county level, but only one level beneath county, generally, so Philadelphia is broken only into Planning districts.
Funded by a 3-year grant from the William Penn Foundation, the Metropolitan Philadelphia Indicators Project combines two types of information to illuminate conditions and trends in our 9-county region (defined as the central cities of Philadelphia and Camden along with the Pennsylvania counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery, and the New Jersey counties of Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem). The first is a set of social, environmental and economic indicators that portray the quality of life in the region’s communities. The second type of information comes from an annual household survey conducted by Temple’s Institute for Survey Research, asking respondents across the region how they assess the quality of life in their communities. Tracking over time the changes in the indicators and in the survey responses, we can better understand how citizens’ perceptions relate to the changing conditions on the ground.
A large directory of health service providers and information in Philadelphia. Includes links by age, condition, and service.
Hard to tag because the URL wasn't imported when I tagged it. I had to copy it in.
The following lists the papers and their locations at Penn. They are available for Penn student use only and will not be publicly distributed. To review a paper, contact Linda Satchell at firstname.lastname@example.org. Papers are either stored in Penn Archives or on the CCP server (1999-2005).