Growth Policy

About the Policy

In 1992, the city undertook a process which resulted in a series of growth policies that guided growth and development in Cambridge over the next 15 years. The growth policies in the 1993 Cambridge Growth Policy Document: Toward a Sustainable Future continues to address the many issues with which neighborhoods, elected officials, the Planning Board and the Community Development Department are concerned. The accompanying narrative and illustrations highlight the many changes in public policy that have influenced development over the last decade, including the complete overhaul of zoning; the end of rent control and the ramping up of the city’s affordable housing development efforts through Inclusionary Zoning and the adoption of the Community Preservation Act; the adoption of the Parking and Transportation Demand Management (PTDM) Ordinance; the rise of biotechnology and life sciences as a mainstay of our local economy; the continued push to expand and improve the city’s supply of open space; and the city’s ground-breaking efforts to address the effects of climate change.

The original document anticipated periodic revisiting of the growth policies. In 2007 an update the city published an update of the original document incorporating the work of the Growth Management Advisory Committee, the City Council’s Citywide and Eastern Cambridge zoning revisions of 2001 and the Concord-Alewife zoning changes of 2006. The 2007 Cambridge growth policy document entitled Toward a Sustainable Future: Cambridge Growth Policy Update 2007 revises the first plan that set forth guidelines for the evolution of the physical environment of the community.

Please note that the original document continues includes historical background that was not repeated in the 2007 update.

2007 Cambridge Growth Management Document

A key portion of the "Growth Policy Document" is the series of seventy policies found throughout the test.

 Towards a Sustainable Future: Cambridge Growth Policy Update 2007

  • Table of Contents and Introduction
  • Land Use
  • Transportation
  • Housing
  • Economic Development and Employment
  • Institutions
  • Urban Design
  • Open Space
  • Environment and Sustainability
  • Looking Toward the Future
  • Growth Policy Tables


1993 Cambridge Growth Management Document 

  • Preface and Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Cambridge in Context
  • Chapter 2: Historical Background
  • Chapter 3: The Changing Context for Growth and Development
  • Chapter 4: Growth Policy Workshops
  • Chapter 5: A Vision for Cambridge
  • Chapter 6: Land Use
  • Chapter 7: Transportation
  • Chapter 8: Housing
  • Chapter 9: Economic Development and Employment
  • Chapter 10: Institutions
  • Chapter 11: Urban Design and Environment
  • Chapter 12: Open Space
  • Appendix A: MAPC's Metro Plan 2000
  • Appendix B: Background Data
  • Appendix C: Glossary

For More Information

For more information on the City's growth policy, please contact Liza Paden at 617/349-4647 or