About the Department

City Hall Annex at 344 Broadway

From Assistant City Manager Iram Farooq

Cambridge is widely recognized as an urban success story—a place where people want to live, work, learn and enjoy. The City’s longstanding policy commitments are clearly paying off: our affordable housing stock is growing; biking is up while automobile use down; and commercial and residential property owners of all sizes have embraced green building as a strategy for cost-saving and marketing.

Cambridge remains a strong choice for technology, life sciences and research companies, and start-up entrepreneurs seeking competitive business advantages. They are drawn by the city’s accessibility for walking, biking, and public transit; the mix of neighborhoods and vibrant commercial centers; a culture of arts, creativity and culinary stand-outs; the presence of world-class educational and health care institutions; and a storied history of being a place where everyone is welcome to take root and thrive as part of a larger community. The focus of our work at CDD is to maintain the balance among these components in a way that contributes to the overall health and sustainability of the city.

We invite you to engage in this effort and to explore our web site for more information on the following: 

  • Affordable rental and homeownership resources 
  • Business and commercial district assistance 
  • Biotech and innovation resources
  • Initiatives to promote safe and sustainable transportation 
  • Energy efficiency resources and climate protection activities 
  • Creative zoning, land use, urban design and community-based neighborhood planning

Working together, we will make Cambridge the best possible place to live, work, learn and visit. Please feel free to contact me at ifarooq@cambridgema.gov to share your thoughts and ideas with us.

- Iram Farooq, Assistant City Manager for Community Development

How CDD Works

With five programmatic divisions, Community Planning, Housing, Economic Development, Environmental and Transportation Planning and Zoning and Development, CDD takes an interdisciplinary approach to manage and guide physical change in a manner consistent with the City’s priorities, engaging and collaborating with community partners and other government agencies to make Cambridge a desirable place to live and work.

CDD advances City goals by:

  • Creating and preserving affordable rental and ownership housing;
  • Planning and implementing initiatives to protect the environment and to institutionalize sustainable practices in municipal operations and in the broader community;
  • Conducting neighborhood-focused and comprehensive planning efforts, and multidisciplinary review of large projects;
  • Strengthening the vitality of the city’s commercial districts;
  • Attracting, retaining and providing direct assistance to Cambridge businesses;
  • Renovating neighborhood parks and playgrounds, and working to provide a variety of open space and recreational opportunities; and
  • Planning transportation infrastructure that enhances safety and encourages walking, cycling and public transportation.

The Department’s agility in implementing best planning practices allows it to address immediate priorities within the context of larger trends and issues, and to continue progress toward long term goals. CDD’s work is funded through a combination of grants, taxes and state and federal programs, including Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME; these resources are strategically deployed to maximize their impact and leverage new investment.  

In addition to direct program staff, CDD is supported by a fiscal and administrative team that manages funding and operations, and provides technical services across divisions.

Contact the Assistant City Manager for Community Development

To contact Iram Farooq, Assistant City Manager for Community Development, please call 617/349-4606 or email ifarooq@cambridgema.gov.