Campus & Community

Like all true love stories, this one comes with heartache

Scholar’s ‘Harvard Square’ more than an academic pursuit

1 min read

Catherine J. Turco has a loving relationship with Harvard Square. She grew up in Cambridge, and holds three Harvard degrees. But after she moved away from the area and came back, she noticed the Square had changed, and she didn’t like it. Turco’s reaction was nothing new — in her research for “Harvard Square: A Love Story,” she encountered a century’s worth of mixed feelings, and sometimes flat-out dismay, about changes to Cambridge’s most famous meeting place. In its close study of how individuals interact with local marketplaces, the book reflects that tension.

“We develop emotional relationships with street-level markets like Harvard Square,” said Turco, now an economic sociologist at MIT’s Sloan School. “We attach to it, we love it, and then it breaks our heart when it changes.”

In this video, Turco walks us through the Square, explaining why we look to certain places for stability and security, even as they inevitably evolve.