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M.I.T.’s Volpe Center redevelopment should include 1,800 graduate dorms: Proposal (updated)

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To ease city’s housing crunch

A group of graduate students at M.I.T. have filed a proposal with the Cambridge City Council that would require the university to include up to 1,800 dorms for grad students in any plans to redevelop the Volpe Transportation Center.

Recall that M.I.T. is buying that 14-acre expanse in Kendall Square from the federal government for $750 million. It’s been called one of the most valuable bits of real estate in the United States, and could host what would be Cambridge’s tallest building.

But the grad students say the city should block any M.I.T. plans unless those hundreds of dorms are included. Such an inclusion would make it easier for grad students to live on campus and would therefore alleviate Cambridge’s ridiculous housing crunch.

Right now, M.I.T. only has space to house about 30 percent of its 6,500 grad students, per the Globe’s Tim Logan. The rest fan out to surrounding neighborhoods, further driving up demand in areas of already limited supply, leading to ever-escalating rents. Circle of life...

As it stands, the students tell Logan that their proposal is more of a suggestion for the City Council rather than a demand. Still, given the size of the Volpe redevelopment, more grad-student housing is something to consider.

Updated August 16: One of the grad students behind the proposal tells us that the request is that M.I.T. build the housing within a 1.5-mile radius of the Volpe site, and not necessarily within the site itself.