There is a new day in Morningside Heights since Lee Bollinger took over the presidency of Columbia University. Pressed by the need to expand but aware of the spectacle of 1968 when his predecssor, seeking to expand into Harlem and build a gymnasium in Morningside Park touched off a campus rebellion and opposition among local residents, Bollinger decided to establish a 40-memberr community advisory council as it prepared to embark on its plan to creatae a new campus on 18 acres bound by 125th Street, Broadway, 12th Avenue and 133rd Street. It sponsored town hall meetings to solicit comments and worked with Comunity Board 9 whose district includes West Harlem. Columbia is seeking to be “part of building the community” according to Bollinger (New York Times: 4/21/04, B8), and has incorporated a number of design principles that came from the community discussion,s notably retaining current streets and building designs that invite pedeestraisn to move west toward the river, enlivening 125th Street as a gateway to the Hudson River waterfront, aligning with city and state efforts to improve the piers for recreation and commuting purposes. At the same time, Bollinger is working with the community to create job traing programs and to provide both construction and technical job opportunities. He is also looking to work with the community to expand ways in which Columbia can provide space for community arts, theater and dance as it expands.
Inclusive, participative processes that seeks to broaden and deepen the links between institutions, developers and communities reflect another significant dimension of the field of negotiation and conflict resolution, that having to do with improving processes for decision-making, involving those who are part of and likely to be affected by decisions, and attempting to produce outcomes that are satisfactory, even optimal, and that sustain and build relationships that last.