Any person.
Any study.
Any Cornelliana.

An alumni
blog about Ezra's
University. (more)


Suggestions? Tips?




[+] Cornell News

[+] Higher Ed News

[+] Campus Pubs

[+] Alumni Interest

[+] Diversions

[+] Blogs

[+] Sports

[+] Other Places


[+] By Month

[+] By Author

MetaEzra's Master Plan

So this month our favorite alumni magazine and our favorite new student blog are both focusing their efforts on Cornell's finalized Master Plan. And we would be amiss if we didn't offer our own comments and critiques of the plan.

I know it is a "final plan", but at Cornell nothing is ever set in stone, save for maybe the inscription on Eddy Gate, so allow me to focus on a couple of the positives and negatives of the plan.

First, the positives:

-- The focus on "greenways", natural settings, and open spaces. It goes without saying that Cornell's natural, open setting is one of its strongest assets, and its setting has strong implications for the feel and character of the University. So we're thankful that the planners have at least picked up on this. In particular, we are enthused by the 'Wee Stinky Glen' greenway, connecting the campus from the Baldwin steps all the way to Beebee Lake. We're also excited by the idea of a 'Cascadilla Meadows' behind Schoellkopf Field and a Judd Falls Greenway on East Campus, zig-zagging between the Orchards and Beebee Lake. These meandering, open areas are precisely the type of Olmstedian landscapes that Cornellians need for inspiration and relaxation.

-- The intensification and formal development of East Campus. As we speculated when we first heard of the master planning process, it's exciting to see East Campus -- south and east of the Ag Quad receive considerable attention that will greatly improve the experience in this part of campus. The Alumni Fields are being sacrificed in the process, but in return we are getting a new Alumni Quad, a Mid-Campus Walk, a Vet Quad, and a lot more social amenities and community feeling to East Campus, which often feels desolate and windswept today.

-- The continued development of the Commons, Collegetown, and East Hill Plaza Village. It's easy to see why East Hill Village is so prominently featured in the plan; it's the cheapest space in Ithaca closest to campus that is easily amendable for new uses. And we agree that it makes sense for Cornell to develop the area residentially and commercially, especially as more professors, graduate students, and post-docs will be employed on East Campus, and there is a need to centralize a lot of extension, outreach, technology transfer, and public relations functions. Relocating more athletic facilities there also makes sense -- providing more of a community feel to the area -- especially as tennis, softball, rugby, and the equine sports are at East Hill Plaza already. Meanwhile, both the Commons and Collegetown are pillars of the City of Ithaca and need to receive continued investment from Cornell, in full cooperation with the city, of course.

Of course, we are never without criticism:

-- The current plan proposes a new plaza where the Campus Store currently stands, and suggests that Day Hall will be demolished and replaced by a new administrative building. We disagree. Unless there are major structural issues with the building, Day Hall is historic and should be kept and retooled as an academic building. (Economics?) Additionally, the Campus Store land is extremely valuable and more density should be added, so close to the major undergraduate library and student union. We envision a five to six story administrative building with a new campus store, student services, and multi-use spaces on the first two floors of the building. Ho Plaza and Central Ave. can always use more face-time, not less.

-- There is little to no discussion of the location of various programs and disciplines across campus. Of course we know that the the Arts Quad has humanities and the East Ave. crest has the physicals sciences, but more direction may be necessary. Should AEM, the undergraduate business program, be moved closer to the Johnson School, the Hotel School, and ILR instead of its outpost surrounded by Aggies and bio majors? (The Johnson School's parking lot is begging for it.) Should the social sciences be scattered as they are across campus? Should Stimson still be dedicated to biology majors even though most everything else for Bio majors is up near the Ag Quad?

-- Where's the desperately needed new pool going to go?

-- No reference to the use of the parking lot at the corner of Stewart Ave. and Williams, which is a prime piece of real estate, and ripe for perhaps another art museum or residential college.

-- Milstein Hall hasn't been scrapped yet (again).

-- Where's our trolley?

There are, of course, a bunch of other interesting things to comment on, like the replacement of Hoy Field for a new engineering quad and the planned demolishing of the North Campus townhouses, but those seem self-explanatory and rather non-controversial.

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on July 23, 2008 (#)

blog comments powered by Disqus

Other Recent Posts

-- WSJ: Cornell Wins NYC Tech Campus Bid (EBilmes)

-- Barrier Update: City Approves Nets (DJost)

-- Big Red Cymbal Guy (Nagowski)

-- New York Times Survey on Campus Recruiting is Flawed (KScott)

-- Barrier Update: Legal precedent suggests City of Ithaca will not be held liable for gorge suicide (DJost)

-- Despite MSG Loss, Big Potential for Big Red Hockey (EBilmes)

-- City Council Will Vote on Suicide Nets (DJost)

-- An Encounter on the Upper East Side (Nagowski)

-- Showing Off Your School Spirit (Nagowski)

-- Chipotle Ithaca? (KScott)

-- Cornell at the ING NYC Marathon (KScott)

-- Crossing Over a Fine Line: Commercial Activity on Campus (KScott)

-- Milstein's Downfall (Nagowski)

-- Can any Cornell-associated organization really be independent of the University? (Nagowski)

-- Slope Media Revisited (EBilmes)

-- Slope Media Group Approved for Byline Funding (KScott)

-- Occupy AEM? (KScott)

-- New campus pub to be good for both Greeks and non-Greeks (Nagowski)

-- Gagging the Election (Nagowski)

-- The Changing Structure of Rush Week (Nagowski)

-- Ivy League Humility in the Midwest (EBilmes)

-- Of Median Grades and Economics Minors (Nagowski)

-- Homecoming Recap (Nagowski)

-- My Cornell Bookshelf (Nagowski)

-- The Sun's Opinion Section Has Suddenly Gotten Good (Nagowski)

-- Remembering the 11th (Nagowski)

-- Cornellian Tapped as Top Economic Advisor (Nagowski)

-- Cutting Pledging, and the Good Which Comes With It (EBilmes)

-- Why Cornell Should Not Close Fall Creek Gorge (Nagowski)

-- Welcome to the Class of 2015 (Nagowski)