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Community Planning Division

  • Planning Board

    Cambridge Planning Board

    The Planning Board is the Special Permit Granting Authority for those uses listed as "PB" in the Zoning Ordinance Article 4.000 - Use Regulations. The Planning Board conducts public hearings where applicants present proposals, public testimony is taken and findings are made as to the relief being sought. All Planning Board business is conducted during the public meeting and agendas are posted at the City Clerk's Office and online at the Planning Board web page.

    Learn more about the Planning Board.

  • GIS and Mapping

    Map of the FAR of historic properties

    Base map data used by the City derives from aerial photography commissioned in April 2010. Technicians processed stereoscopic photographs to delineate and identify  features visible on the ground. City staff has collected other data using GPS units to locate and identify items, like street trees and bike racks. Legal descriptions or survey data provide the basis for parcel lines and other invisible boundaries. All of this information can be analyzed in a Geographic Information System, or GIS, and organized with GIS for presentation on a map.

    See more examples of GIS maps.

  • Cambridge Riverfront

    Scene from the head of the Broad Canal

    The City’s plan for making the Charles River more accessible is entitled Cambridge Riverfront Plan: Reconnecting People to the Water. The plan lays out goals for the riverfront as a whole, as well as ideas for improvements in each subset of the frontage. The plan promotes formal and informal use of the riverfront, explores destinations where people may linger and enjoy the river, in addition to active linear use such as walking or biking, and seeks to realize the full potential for liveliness offered by this defining physical feature of our community and region.

    Learn more about Riverfront Planning,

  • Neighborhood Planning

    Harvard Street residential buildings

    Neighborhood-level planning is a key component of the ongoing planning work conducted by CDD's Community Planning Division. Neighborhood planning informs the City's overall planning work through ongoing interaction and discussion with community members at the neighborhood level. Neighborhood planning also provides an opportunity to apply Cambridge's citywide planning goals in a local context.

    Learn more about Neighborhood Planning.

  • Open Space Planning

    Pergola at the New Riverside Park

    The future growth and development of Cambridge's open space system is guided by the planning work of CDD, in collaboration with other departments through the Open Space Committee.

    Along with specific park projects, CDD directs a variety of planning initiatives for open spaces in the city. These include the City's comprehensive Open Space and Recreation Plan (submitted every seven years to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs) as well as other citywide initiatives focusing on different topics.

    Learn more about Open Space Planning.

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What We Do

The Community Planning Division activities encompass planning and urban design, institutional planning, neighborhood planning, zoning and development review (including staffing the Planning Board) demographic and geographic analysis, development of parks and open space, and graphic design. The staff provides planning services that enhance the overall living environment of Cambridge's highly diverse population. The Division strives both to enhance relationships with residents and neighborhood organizations and to expand participation in the planning process by providing information and technical assistance to the City's residents, property owners, neighborhood groups and developers. Programs and services provided by the division fall within the following areas:

For More Information

For more information about the Community Planning Division contact Stuart Dash at 617/349-4640 or sdash@cambridgema.gov. Follow this link for a listing of Community Planning Division staff members.