“Do Bold Experiments That Are Cheap to Try Out”

Recently, I watched a TED Talk by New York City’s Transportation Commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan. Sadik-Khan discusses projects that transformed the streets in all five boroughs of NYC. Listening to Sadik-Khan describe the renovation of 26 acres of space (including Times Square), changing the aesthetic of public areas, improving the efficiency of the buses, and increasing bike access and safety, I wondered whether Sadik-Khan’s mantra, “Do bold experiments that are cheap to try out,” could be applied in student housing.

If streets are an asset to a city, aren’t our assets the lounges, lobbies, and green spaces in and around our residence halls and campuses? Are these areas not “hidden in plain sight” and vital to our community’s success just the same way Sadik-Khan describes New York City’s streets, bridges, and sidewalks?

greenspaceOur communities may not need budget-squeezing, complete renovations; in Sadik-Khan’s words, “You just need to look at them a little differently.” With clear action plans and small, creative changes, couldn’t we start with one lounge or one lobby? We may not have a $2 billion budget or a staff of 5,000 employees, but what is stopping us from improving our product and increasing our efficiency, most likely increasing the quality of life for our students? Becky informal