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Zoning and Development

  • Zoning Centennial

    thumbnail of 1962 zoning map

    Did you know that 2024 is the 100th anniversary of the Zoning Ordinance? We have been gathering and digitizing zoning maps and ordinances from over the past 100 years so that you can look at them here! See the very first Cambridge Zoning Map as well as major changes to the Ordinance and Map over time.

  • Major Development Projects

    special permits map

    Where major projects are happening in Cambridge? Get details about special permits issued in your neighborhood.

    Go to the Active Special Permits Map.

  • Planning Board

    Cambridge Planning Board

    The Planning Board is an appointed volunteer board of Cambridge residents that reviews large development projects and proposed zoning changes. All members of the public are welcome to attend Planning Board meetings.

  • Zoning Amendments

    Zoning Ordinance Cover Graphic

    The City considers amendments to its Zoning Ordinance from time to time. See amendments that are currently under consideration.

    Zoning Amendments

  • Design Guidelines

    Concord Alewife Plan report cover

    In certain parts of Cambridge, CDD has conducted planning studies and established design guidelines that are considered when projects undergo review at the Planning Board. See what areas have these established design guidelines.

    Design Guidelines

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What We Do

CDD provides professional support on matters related to zoning policy and urban design, and to the work of the Cambridge Planning Board. Staff members are available to consult with residents, business owners, project developers and other city agencies to discuss zoning regulations or to review proposed development projects.

Urban development in Cambridge is regulated by the Zoning Ordinance, which controls the overall scale and use of buildings throughout the city. Cambridge’s zoning is a reflection of CDD’s ongoing planning work, which helps to guide future urban growth in the city. For more information about how zoning works, see the Cambridge Zoning Guide.

CDD administers the Cambridge Planning Board, which issues special permits for some development projects as required by zoning, and reviews and makes recommendations to the City Council on proposed amendments to the Zoning Ordinance. The Planning Board also engages in CDD’s general planning efforts to improve the physical environment of the city.