Open Space Plan Update

A photograph of two small children swinging on a web swing at a playground in Cambridge. The children are facing away from the camera and are bundled in winter hats and coats. The sun is low. Shadows stretch across the scene from other nearby play equipment and trees. Text is superimposed over the top portion of the photograph that reads: “Plan for play; Parks & Open Space Planning”.

Cambridge is home to over 80 parks, playgrounds, and open spaces. Each plays an important role in keeping Cambridge healthy, equitable, and sustainable. The City’s Community Development Department (CDD) is excited to kick off a planning process to guide future work around all of Cambridge’s parks and open spaces. We want to ensure that changes over time reflect our community’s values and priorities. To do that, we need you!

Whether you live, work, study, or play in Cambridge, you have something to offer this process. Throughout the next several months, you will have various opportunities to get involved and help shape our approach to parks and open spaces for the next 7-10 years.


Ways to Get Involved

Here are a few ways to participate and lend your voice to the planning process:

The Latest 

  • Join us for a series of outdoor pop-up events to discuss our draft goals and draft vision. Come share your ideas with the community, or talk to the project team about your goals for our parks and open spaces! We'll have multiple pop-up opportunities at some of Cambridge's favorite parks and open spaces! See below for events coming up, and check the City Calendar for future dates or weather-related updates.
    • Friday, 7/22, 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. at Dana Park 
    • Tuesday, 7/26, 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. at Cambridge Common
    • Tuesday, 7/26, 2:30 - 4:30 p.m. at Greene-Rose Heritage Park
  • What do you think of our draft vision and draft goals? Please use this feedback form to review the drafts and let us know how they can be improved!
  • Thank you for joining us at our virtual public meeting on June 30th where we discussed the draft vision and draft goals. If you weren't able to join us, you can click here to download a PDF of the draft goals that were presented at the meeting. You can also watch a video recording of the meeting (Passcode: OPOP_Mtg4) and review the slides

Other Ways to Get Involved

  • Chat one-on-one with members of the planning team. Sign up for (virtual) office hours here! 
  • Stay informed: Sign up for our email list and follow CDD on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

  • Visit a park! Whether it’s to take a stroll, have a picnic, or read a book, enjoying open spaces is one of the simplest and strongest ways you can contribute to your community. For a guide to our parks and playgrounds, click here.


Engagement Updates & Meeting Materials

Survey 1: Tell Us How You Use Parks (July 2021 - June 2022)  

405 responses

Meeting 1: Kickoff Meeting (November 10, 2021)

Presentation Slides (PDF)
Meeting Recording - Passcode: sbUL9t^k

Meeting 2: Community Core Values and Priorities (December 15, 2021)

Presentation Slides (PDF)
Meeting Recording - Passcode: #2?fTU5q

Survey 2: Community Core Values & Priorities (January 2022 - February 2022)

142 responses

Meeting 3: A Visioning Workshop for Our Parks and Open Space (March 24, 2022)

Presentation Slides (PDF)
Meeting Recording - Passcode: OPOP_Mtg3

In-Park Pop-Ups at Danehy Park, Toomey Park, Joan Lorentz Park, and Hoyt Field (April 2022 - May 2022)

60+ participants

Survey 3: Park Use & Access (April 2022 - June 2022)

395 responses

Focus Group at Russell Youth Community Center (April 27, 2022)

22+ participants

Focus Group at Gately Youth Center (May 9, 2022)

12+ participants

Meeting 4: Setting Our Goals (June 30, 2022)

Presentation Slides (PDF)
Meeting Recording - Passcode: OPOP_Mtg4


Plan Background

State Open Space and Recreation Plan

Through this process the City will update its Open Space and Recreation Plan (OSRP) for submission to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. In order to be eligible for open space grant funding from the state, a city or town must have a current and approved Seven-Year Open Space and Recreation Plan filed with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

Previous Open Space and Recreation Plan

The City of Cambridge's previous OSRP covered the period of 2009-2016. Click the links below to download the plan in full or to view individual sections of the plan document

Download Full 2009-2016 Open Space and Recreation Plan Document

Open Space Plan - Complete Document (including Maps and Tables)

Download Document Sections

Pages 1-196 Open Space Plan - Text Only
Maps 3-1, 3-2, 3-3, 3-4, 3-5 and Table 3-9 Regional Context, Environmental Justice Populations, Transportation Infrastructure, Bicycle Facilities, Base Zoning Districts, Zoning Reference Sheet
Maps 4-1, 4-2, 4-2A, 4-3, 4-4 Soils, Water Resources, Up-Country Watershed Areas, Historic Protections, Landscape Character and Unique Features
Maps 5-1, 5-2, 5-3, 5-4 and Tables 5-1, 5-2, 5-3, 5-4; Maps 6-1, 6-2 Significant Private Open Spaces; Major Public Open Spaces, Community Gardens, Schools and Youth Centers; Public Street Streets, Plazas and Pocket Parks; Other Public Facilities; Cambridge Neighborhoods, New Parks and Areas of Need (Green Ribbon Study)
Maps 7-1, 7-2 Eastern Cambridge Planning Study and Concord-Alewife Planning Study Goals
Map 9-1 Seven-Year Action Plan
Tables 5-1, 5-2, 5-3, 5-4 Inventory of Major Public Open Spaces, Inventory of Community Gardens; Inventory of Schools and Youth Centers; Inventory of Other Public Facilities

For More Information

For more information contact Gary Chan at 617/349-4603 or gchan@cambridgema.gov.