Alexander W. Kemp Playground at Cambridge Common

Kemp Playground at Cambridge Commons

The redesigned Alexander W. Kemp Playground at the Cambridge Common was completed and opened in summer 2009. It has a variety of play features to stimulate challenging physical activity as well as creative, exploratory, imaginative and social play for kids of all ages. It builds on the idea that playgrounds are places where children grow and learn about themselves and the world around them.

The playground design is a landscape of hills, valleys, sand, wooden branches and stumps, living plant material, and loose wooden blocks to build with. It is a place where kids can invent their own forms of play. Many features are made from naturally decay-resistant wood. Slides are embedded into hills. Turning a crank sends water cascading down a series of tables into the sand area. There is a swing set for toddlers, a multidirectional dish-shaped swing that can be used by several children at once, a see-saw with multiple seats at each end for groups of children (or adults), and a “merry-go-round” that is at ground level to provide wheelchair access.


A separate project is in the planning stages to renovate the pathways, lighting, benches, and trash receptacles throughout the Common and to plant new trees.

Go to the Cambridge Common/Flagstaff Park Project.

In 2008, the City began the process of redesigning Alexander W. Kemp Playground on the Cambridge Common. A public design review process was conducted in the spring and summer of 2008, with presentations held on-site, in the neighborhood, and before the Cambridge Historical Commission.

The approach to designing this playground is a reflection of conversations occurring both nationally and locally about the importance of play, including discussions within the City’s Healthy Playgrounds Task Force.  For more information about this project or the topic of Healthy Playgrounds, contact Jeff Roberts in the Community Development Department at jroberts@cambridgema.gov or 617/349-4639.

The project was funded in part by an Urban Self-Help Grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Funding was also contributed by the Alexander W. Kemp Foundation, and through a portion of the “Accessible America” prize awarded to Cambridge by the National Organization on Disability.

  • Kemp Playground at Cambridge Commons
  • Kemp Playground at Cambridge Commons
  • Kemp Playground at Cambridge Commons
  • Kemp Playground at Cambridge Commons
  • Kemp Playground at Cambridge Commons
  • Kemp Playground at Cambridge Commons
  • Kemp Playground at Cambridge Commons
  • Kemp Playground at Cambridge Commons
  • Kemp Playground at Cambridge Commons
  • Kemp Playground at Cambridge Commons
  • Kemp Playground at Cambridge Commons
  • Kemp Playground at Cambridge Commons

For questions about maintenance or about holding an event at the playground, please contact the Department of Public Works at 617/349-4800.

For questions about the design of the playground, please contact Jeff Roberts by phone 617/349-4639 or by email at jroberts@cambridgema.gov.