Urban Education: Columbia Students, Faculty and Staff at Work in Our Community
Special from The Record
In December 1895 Columbia President Seth Low presided over a small private ceremony laying the cornerstone of Low Library on 17 bucolic acres of Upper Manhattan that had for decades been the site of what was then called a lunatic asylum.
Columbia architectural history professor Andrew Dolkart points out that before the University’s move from its 19th-century campus in midtown Manhattan, Low acknowledged that “the final buildings in our plan may not be erected for a hundred years.” With this year’s opening of the Northwest Corner Building, Low was proven right.
Columbia’s own fortunes as a great urban university largely parallel the rise, decline and rejuvenation of New York City itself. Columbia historian Kenneth Jackson’s best-selling Encyclopedia of New York just went into its second edition. Leafing through its 1,361 pages and many other sources, one can see the many ways Columbia has been shaped by New York and New York by Columbians.
For example, the city’s first street grid mapping in 1815, championed by Columbia alumnus Gouverneur Morris, who was among the 15 Columbians who went on to serve as governor of New York and 13 as mayor (including Seth Low). The early subway system was engineered by alumni from Columbia’s School of Mines; its extension up Broadway more than a century ago opened a burst of institutional and residential development in northern Manhattan that helps define New York to this day.
In this issue of The Record we highlight a few of today’s faculty, students and staff who are engaging in partnerships with and scholarship about the city that has for more than 250 years defined Columbia’s unique identity.
—by Record Staff
Columbia in the Headlines
The New York Times, May 13
Prof. Patricia J. Williams: Racism Remains Alive and Well
Financial Times, May 5
Prof. Ray Fisman & Bruce Usher: What is the Best Way of Innovating for Social Change?
The New Yorker, May 3
Prof. Tim Wu: The Coming War Over Net Neutrality
Reuters, April 26
Prof. John C. Coffee Jr.: Are Shareholders Bonuses Incentives or Bribes?
The New York Times, April 21
Prof. Ilyana Kuziemko: Our Feelings About Inquality: It's Complicated