Envision Cambridge

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Envision Cambridge is a community-wide process to develop a comprehensive plan for a more livable, sustainable, and equitable Cambridge. With input from those who live, work, study, and play in our city, Envision Cambridge will create a shared vision for the future of our city. The plan will result in recommendations on a broad range of topics such as housing, mobility, economic opportunity, urban form, and climate and the environment.

What is a comprehensive plan? 

A comprehensive plan identifies and describes community characteristics, articulates goals, and explores different options for the future of the city. It often discusses many different topics, including housing, transportation, economic development, open space, and more. The plan should represent community values and provide recommendations for how a community can achieve its goals.

Why should I get involved? 

The Envision Cambridge process is an opportunity to help shape the future of the city. In order for the plan to truly represent Cambridge, we need to hear from you about your interests and priorities for the future. Your input will guide the recommendations that come out of this process. 

How can I get involved? 

Envision Cambridge is a three-year process that runs from 2016 to 2018. Throughout this time, there will be many opportunities to get involved and share your input.

City Council Roundtable/Working Meeting on Envision Cambridge

May 16, 2016
The City Council is having a roundtable/working meeting on Envision Cambridge. View the agenda and presentation. The meeting will be recorded and will air "live" and be rebroadcast on Wednesday, May 18 at 5:30 P.M. and Friday, May 20 at 10:00 A.M.

Advisory Committee and Working Group Meetings

May 5, 2016

The Envision Cambridge Advisory Committee, the Alewife Working Group, and the Engagement and Communications Working Group have been formed to advise City staff and consultant on Envision Cambridge. The first meeting dates are listed below:

  • Engagement and Communications Working Group Meeting, Tuesday, May 10, 5:30 to 7:00 P.M., Community Development Department, 344 Broadway, 4th Floor Conference Room. 
  • Envision Cambridge Advisory Committee Meeting, Wednesday, May 18, 6:00 to 8:00 P.M., Community Development Department, 344 Broadway, 4th Floor Conference Room
  • Alewife Working Group Meeting, Thursday, May 19, 6:00 to 8:00 P.M., Cambridge Water Department, 250 Fresh Pond Parkway, Cafeteria

Planning Board Presentation

April 26, 2016

The Envision Cambridge team presented to the Planning Board. View the presentation.

Share your Ideas at Upcoming Public Workshops!

March 8, 2016

We are hosting three public workshops to learn about what matters most to you. 

  • Thursday, March 24, 6:00 P. M. to 8:00 P. M., Kennedy Longfellow School Cafeteria, 158 Spring Street
  • Thursday, March 31, 6:00 P. M. to 8:00 P. M. Tobin School Cafeteria, 197 Vassal Lane
  • Saturday, April 2, 1:30 P, M. to 3:30 P. M., Senior Center, 806 Massachusetts Avenue 

Name the Plan - The Results are In!

January 7, 2016

We asked you what the citywide plan should be called. We have tallied the more than 275 votes and are pleased to announce that we have a winner: the name you selected for the citywide plan is Envision Cambridge. A big thanks to all who participated!

What Should the Citywide Plan Be Called?

December 14, 2015

Take this survey by December 21, 2105 to vote for your top choice for the citywide plan name.

City Kicks Off Campaign to Name the Citywide Plan

November 23, 2015

Help us name the citywide plan! To participate, simply complete this survey or text your ideas to 617/858-8325 by Friday, December 4, 2015.

City Council Roundtable/Working Meeting to Discuss Citywide Planning

October 26, 2015

The City Council held a working meeting to discuss the scope, timeline, and project approach for the upcoming citywide planning process. The citywide planning process is anticipated to start in November.

Click here to view the presentation.

City of Cambridge Selects Consultant Team for Citywide Plan

August 21, 2015

The City of Cambridge is pleased to announce the selection of the Utile Architecture + Planning team for the Cambridge citywide planning project.

Utile leads an interdisciplinary team with a deep understanding of local planning issues and a creative approach to public engagement. The team will complement and augment the capacity of City staff as we embark on this important multi-year effort.

Click here to view a press release of the announcement.

Public Presentation Video and Materials

July 29, 2015

A video of the public presentations from citywide planning firms and presentation slides from each of the teams are available by clicking the links below:

Public Presentations from Citywide Planning Firms

July 14, 2015

Three consultant teams have been selected to interview for the upcoming citywide planning process. The teams are led by Perkins + Will, Sasaki, and Utile. As part of the interview process, each of the shortlisted firms will give a presentation to the public on Monday, July 27, 2015 from 5:30 P. M. to 9:30 P. M. in Sullivan Chamber at Cambridge City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave.

Community members will have an opportunity to learn about each firm’s project team and approach, as well as ask questions.

The presentations will be video recorded and available for viewing online at 22-CityView and the City Webcast. The recording will be also be archived and available for viewing at a later date via the City Webcast.

You can view each of the shortlisted teams’ proposals by clicking below:

Copies of the proposals are also available for viewing at the Main Library, O’Neill Branch, and the Valente Branch. Please visit the Cambridge Public Library web site for information on hours and locations.

Request for Qualifications and Addenda Available

June 15, 2015

The Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for Citywide Comprehensive Planning Services is available for viewing on the Purchasing Department Website's Current Bid List. Please note that addenda to the RFQ have also been posted.

Draft Scope of Services Available for Community Comment

April 24, 2015

The Community Development Department has been working on developing the scope of services and deliverables for the upcoming citywide comprehensive planning process. The draft scope and deliverables document builds upon the Cambridge Conversations final report, Strategic Recommendations for a Citywide Plan, and has been refined with input from multiple City departments. It emphasizes robust public engagement throughout the process and highlights the importance of coordination with other ongoing citywide efforts such as Climate Change Preparedness Planning, Community Health Improvement Planning, Transit Strategic Planning, and others.

Click here to view the draft scope and deliverables. The draft document is available for community review for two weeks.

Please submit any suggestions and comments to CambridgeConversations@cambridgeMA.gov by Friday, May 8, 2015.

These comments will inform the fine-tuning of the scope and deliverables. These will be a part of the Request for Qualifications that will guide the selection of a consultant team to work with the City throughout the citywide comprehensive planning process.

Mobile Engagement Station

  • May 14, 2106: TBD, K-Lo Spring Fling, Kennedy Longfellow School, 158 Spring Stre
  • June 4, 2016: 12:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M., River Festival, East Cambrid
  • June 11, 2106: 11:00 A.M. to 3:00 PM, Fresh Pond Day, 250 Fresh Pond Parkway

Envision Cambridge Advisory Committee Meetings

  • Alewife Working Group Meeting, Thursday, May 19, 6:00 to 8:00 P.M., Water Department, 250 Fresh Pond Parkway, Cafeteria
  • Envision Cambridge Advisory Committee Meeting, Wednesday, May 18, 6:00 to 8:00 P.M., CDD, 344 Broadway, 4th floor Conference Room

The City of Cambridge has prepared previous citywide plans and a number of area plans over the years. These planning endeavors reflected the issues and trends of the time, and each had an influence on shaping the city we have today. In the 1970s and 1980s, redevelopment was seen as a priority, leading to a series of plans for the revitalization of specific areas (East Cambridge Riverfront Plan, 1978; Alewife Revitalization Plan, 1979; and Cambridgeport Revitalization Plan, 1983). The need to coordinate these plans provided impetus for the first citywide growth policy in 1993, Toward a Sustainable Future, which was issued during an economic downturn and was a departure from the redevelopment plans of the previous decades. In 1998-2000, the City conducted a citywide planning effort that culminated in citywide rezoning of 2001. The 1993 citywide growth policy was revisited in 2007.

During the 1990s and 2000s, a series of neighborhood plans (and updates) addressed local issues around housing, land use, urban design, transportation, open space, institutional uses, and economic development. In this time period, the City’s Community Development Department (CDD) also began to prepare citywide plans on specific topics, such as Inclusionary Housing, Open Space, Traffic Calming, Pedestrian Improvements, Bicycling, Economic Policy, Climate Protection, Energy, and Lighting. Significant planning initiatives for specific districts have included the East Cambridge Planning Study (ECaPS, 2001), Concord/Alewife (Con/Ale, 2006), and most recently, Kendall Square and Central Square (K2C2, 2013). CDD has also issued a number of guides on zoning, business development, demographics, historical commission certificates, and other topics.

To prepare for a citywide plan, the City conducted an initial outreach process to understand community concerns and aspirations. This process, known as Cambridge Conversations, responded to City Council interest in soliciting input from the community to provide recommendations and a strategy for moving forward on short and long range planning and urban design work based on previous studies and recommendations.

What's the Plan? Panel, February 11, 2016 

Request for Qualifications (RFQ)

Responses to RFQ from Shortlisted Firms

Public Presentation Materials (07/27/2015)

Email Updates

Related Documents and Projects

The Cambridge Conversations final report, Strategic Recommendations for a Citywide Plan, is now available. The report recommendations were shaped by your comments and feedback over the course of many months, and informed the citywide planning process.

About Cambridge Conversations

Cambridge Conversations was the precursor to the citywide comprehensive plan process. Before the community launched into a multi-year process, we held open ended discussions to exchange ideas, hear concerns, and think about the best way to set up a process for the plan. The City hired Kathryn Madden of the Madden Planning Group to help facilitate the Cambridge Conversations. Kathryn has extensive experience with both comprehensive planning and community engagement.

Community input was gathered in a variety of ways:

  • Three community meetings were held on June 10, 11, and 14 in 2014. The PowerPoint presentation is available here.  
  • Over 17 drop-in sessions were held at different times and locations across the city during May and June 2014.  
  • Thoughts and ideas were sent via email. 
  • An online discussion was hosted by CoUrbanize. See the discussion here.

Envision Cambridge Advisory Committee

The Envision Cambridge Advisory Committee will be a sounding board for planning concepts, help set priorities for the plan, and help establish a feedback loop between the City, the consultant team, and Cambridge residents, businesses, and institutions. The committee will consist of residents, property owners, and representatives of local businesses and institutions.

  • Alexandra Offiong
  • Bethany Stevens
  • Bill Kane
  • Dennis Swinford
  • Ebi Poweigha
  • Frank Gerratana
  • Jeff Kiryk
  • Joseph Maguire
  • Josh Gerber
  • Marlinia Antoine
  • Matthew Wallace
  • Naia Aubourg
  • Risa Mednick
  • Robert Winters
  • Ruth Allen
  • Ruth Ryals
  • Tom Sieniewicz
  • Tom Stohlman
  • Zeyneb Magavi
  • Zuleka Queen-Postell

Envision Alewife Working Group

The Envision Alewife Working Group will help guide the Alewife district study and develop comprehensive and actionable recommendations for the area.

  • Catherine Connolly
  • Doug Brown
  • Eric Grunebaum
  • Geoff Wood
  • James Butler
  • Jennifer Gilbert
  • John DiGiovanni
  • Karen Dumaine
  • Margaret Drury
  • Margaret Gadon
  • Mark DiOrio
  • Sam Stern
  • Tom Ragno
  • William Ahern

Engagement and Communications Working Group

The Engagement and Communications Working Group is a topic-focused group that will provide guidance and advice on how the citywide plan can best engage the entire community and ensure that dialogue is representative of the city’s diversity.

  • Ben Peterson
  • Cathie Zusy
  • Debbie Bonilla
  • Elaine DeRosa
  • Eryn Johnson
  • Jeenal Sawla
  • Justin Crane
  • Justin Kang
  • Phyllis Bretholtz
  • Sarah Kennedy
  • Tara Greco
  • Zuleka Queen-Postell

At later stages of the planning process, additional working groups will be formed. We anticipate working groups on topics such as climate and energy, economic development, housing, and mobility.

Community Development Department
344 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02139

For information on Envision Cambridge, please contact Melissa Peters at mpeters@cambridgema.gov or 617/349-4605.