We Are Talking about Homes: A Great University Against Its Neighbors

Lynne Sharon Schwartz, Author HarperCollins Publishers $15.95 (175p) ISBN 978-0-06-015479-0
In March 1983, fire gutted a building on Riverside Drive owned by Columbia University, disrupting the lives of 24 families and badly damaging the apartment of the author, also a resident in the building. Using the events surrounding the fire as her main example, Schwartz sets out to establish the negative effect of Columbia's housing policy on the Morningside Heights area. The larger issue of the university's responsibility to ""non-affiliated'' tenants and neighbors, however, is lost in a wealth of detail about the lives of the occupants of the gutted Riverside Drive building. Though well documented with court transcripts, quotes from the Columbia Housing administrators, first hand accounts of the fire, etc., this book is more the story of an individual tragedy than an exploration of the neighborhood's problems. Schwartz raises valid points about the conflict between the university's need for student and faculty housing, and the community's need for an identity separate from Columbia's. Unfortunately, these points are not given the attention and space which their importance demands. November 6
Reviewed on: 01/01/1985
Release date: 01/01/1985
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