ACTION ALERT: Build Housing Now! ABC Statement on City Council Master Plan Policy Orders

We just learned that two competing policy orders will be submitted at Monday’s City Council meeting calling for the initiation of a master plan in Cambridge. A Better Cambridge supports strong, community-based urban planning that helps build housing now in our city. We welcome all productive contributions to that discussion.

ABC supports the policy order submitted by Mayor Maher, Vice Mayor Benzan, and Councilor McGovern. Their order recognizes the important work of previous community planning studies in Cambridge, as well as the critical role new development plays in expanding the diversity and livability of our community.

We ask you to immediately submit written comments to the City Council stating your support for the Maher/Benzan/McGovern policy order. In addition to stating your support for this order, we hope your comments to the council will include reference to the key ABC talking points elaborated on below.

We must act immediately, and we’re counting on you to help.


  • Read our talking points which are included below, and use them to craft your own message to the City Council.

  • Attend Monday’s City Council meeting (4/7, 5:30 PM at City Hall) and make your voice heard. Cambridge grants all residents three minutes to speak on any City Council agenda item at the start of each meeting. This will be a full house, so call the City Clerk beginning at 8:30 A.M. Monday morning to get your name on the list early - 617-349-4260.

  • Forward this email to your family and friends in Cambridge and ask them to take action as well. Also stay tuned for upcoming Twitter (@ABetterCambMA) and Facebook ( posts to retweet and share.

  • Attend the ABC general meeting next Wednesday, April 9th, 7:00 P.M. at CCTV (438 Mass Ave). We’ll be talking about the next steps in this effort and exciting new opportunities to help build a more diverse and livable Cambridge.



Cambridge must build housing now.

  • Our city faces a serious shortage of housing available to meet the diverse needs of Cambridge families, and housing prices keep rising. A report by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) recently projected that Metro Boston must produce up to 435,000 new housing units by 2040 to meet the needs of working families and our aging population -- in Cambridge alone, overwhelming demand for housing requires at least 6,000 new housing units.

  • Any new planning process in Cambridge should allow for the immediate and continued production of new housing, including the availability of standard zoning tools such as special permits and density bonuses for additional housing.


Build upon, don’t scrap previous community planning efforts in Cambridge.

  • The Kendall Square Central Square Planning Study (K2C2) was an 18-month, community-based process to chart future growth in two Cambridge neighborhoods poised for significant new development. The C2 recommendations reflect the findings of previous community planning efforts in concluding that “the most important thing that can be done to preserve the diversity of the square is to increase the supply of housing.”

  • Any new planning process in Cambridge should recognize the significant community input and public resources already contributed to K2C2 and similar planning efforts. To disregard K2C2 would set a bad precedent, and would bring into question the viability of any new community-based planning initiatives in Cambridge.


Recognize that density is key to achieving Cambridge’s sustainability goals.

  • Cambridge endeavors to be a leader in the fight against climate change. Sustainable growth means turning away from a car-centered paradigm for development and ensuring growth that relies on cleaner forms of transportation without an increase in vehicle traffic. Increasing the housing and commercial opportunities in Cambridge neighborhoods best served by public and alternative transportation promotes sustainable growth that allows residents the opportunity to live, work, shop, and play in the same community.

  • Any new planning process in Cambridge should emphasize walking, biking, and public transportation to reduce car dependency and build a more sustainable city.

Thanks for taking action on this important issue.