Cambridge Receives Congress of New Urbanism Charter Award for Best Urban Infill


Outdoor dining space in Kendall Square

The City of Cambridge has received a Congress of New Urbanism (CNU) Charter Award  ( for its Kendall Square Plan for Best Urban Infill.

Since 2001, the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) has administered the CNU Charter Awards program. Regarded as the preeminent global award for excellence in urban design, the CNU Charter Awards honors a select number of winners and honorable mentions - including one grand professional prize, and one grand academic prize for students – across multiple categories from a competitive field of entries. CNU convenes a jury of distinguished designers, architects, planners and scholars who review the entries and select the winners.

This year, the winners were selected by a very prestigious jury, including European sculptor and architect Rob Krier, modernist Arizona-based architect Will Bruder and CNU co-founder Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk. Winning projects are recognized for their excellence in fulfilling and advancing the principles of the Charter of the New Urbanism, which defines the essential qualities of walkable, sustainable places from the scale of the region down to the block and building.

“The quality of submissions we received this year was remarkable,” said Jury Chair Jeff Speck at the June 5 awards ceremony. “I served on a Charter Awards jury years ago, and many of the submitters didn’t understand new urbanism at all. It’s a testament to the impact CNU has had over the past two decades that the principles in the Charter are now embraced and reflected in projects around the world.”

Below is an excerpt on the Cambridge award from the CNU Charter Awards Booklet

KENDALL SQUARE: 60’s Urban Renewal Becomes Effective Urban Infill

Sandwiched between a major research university and a network of diverse neighborhoods, Kendall Square is an undistinguished cluster of office space intended to meet the demand for high tech jobs in Cambridge, Massachusetts. As has been the case for many medium-sized towns, the tech boom in Cambridge led to the rapid development of stark single-use facilities,isolating residents from their city’s core and inspiring locals to conclude that height and density are threatening to their community. In their ambitious urban infill plan, Goody Clancy seeks to reorganize the 200 acres of Kendall Square that were initially allotted for urban renewal in the 1960s. As it sits, the square contains 10 million square feet of research with limited housing, retail, or green public spaces. Over ten years, the project would open up 4 million square feet of that research space, making it available for mixed-income housing, retail, cultural and public use. With 75% of growth planned within a five-minute walk of transit and housing development slated to increase 250%, the renovations would maximize convenience, showing the citizens of Cambridge that an increase in density doesn’t have to mean a decrease in practicality and attractiveness.

Learn more about the Kendall Square Central Square Planning Study (K2C2).

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