Campus & Community

Arboreal ardor

3 min read

Harvard plants 71 new trees at edge of campus

The University has begun planting 71 new trees along six city streets near the campus’s eastern edge. The trees, placed in consulta-tion with University neighbors, the Cambridge city arborist, and the Cambridge Committee on Public Planting, are being planted as part of public way improvements related to construction of Harvard’s new Center for Government and International Studies (CGIS), twin struc-tures now under construction along both sides of Cambridge Street.

The trees, many of them already in place, include ornamental katsura trees, sugar maples, Chinese elms, red maples, thornless common honey locusts, littleleaf lindens, Japanese pagoda trees, gin-kos, serviceberries, higan cherries, red oaks, and hedge maples. Har-vard has committed to caring for the trees, most of which should reach maturity in 15 to 20 years, for the next five years.

“These trees and the extensive landscaping that will be done as part of this project will significantly improve the environment within the area,” said David Zewinski, associate dean of physical resources and planning in Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. “The new trees, together with the CGIS exterior, which is nearing completion, offer a preview of just how attractive this project will be when fin-ished.”

The young trees are to line Cambridge, Felton, Kirkland, and Prescott streets, Sumner Road, and Broadway. With community input, the trees have been matched to their settings and, as an ensemble, will be resistant to disease. For instance, grander maples and elms have been planted along Kirkland Street, while smaller trees will grace narrower Sumner Road. In some instances where utility conflicts preclude sidewalk planting, the new trees have been located on private property.

The public way improvements being undertaken by Harvard will also include sidewalk improvements along approximately 3,500 linear feet of the same six streets. The red brick sidewalks, underpinned by layers of concrete and an asphalt bed, have been engineered to prevent settling and the development of uneven surfaces, both of which commonly afflict brick walkways. Where trees are planted, the new sidewalks will include small pipes leading underground to aerate the soil and provide water to the trees’ roots. Designed by Harry Cobb of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, CGIS is slated for completion in late spring 2005. Encompassing two new buildings on either side of Cambridge Street and several existing wood frame houses in a complex accommodating a range of aca-demic and administrative uses, CGIS will create a new home for Har-vard’s Department of Government and various international re-search centers in a single location convenient to related social sci-ences programs.

The two new Pei Cobb Freed-designed structures along Cam-bridge Street feature sweeping rounded expanses of glass, dramatic circular stairways visible from the street, and a distinctive terra cotta façade. The buildings will house faculty offices, graduate stu-dent work space, classrooms, library and computer facilities, and a café.