Envision Cambridge

A shared vision for the future of Cambridge.

2016 - 2019

The City of Cambridge

Cambridge, MA


Project Team: 

Interboro (Tobias Armborst, Daniel D’Oca, Georgeen Theodore, Cory Berg, Abigail Brown, Katherine Isidro, Odili Onochie, Eka Pramuditha, Andrew Wald), Utile


Street Team: Shameen Akhtar, Alice Armstrong, Sourav Biswas, Sean Connelly, Oliver Julian Curtis, Leandro Couto de Almeida, Clara Fraden, Aubrey Germ, Marco Gorini, Emma Freeman Goode, Allison Green, Carolyn Grossman, Anna Katinka Hakuta, Elan Horn, Miriam Keller, Elliot Kilham, Elaine Kim, Theodore Krolik, Sarah Leisten, Christoper Liao, Megan Mahala, Cara Mitchell, Paige Peltzer, Demir Purisic, Alex Rawding, Anne Ryan, Raquel Saenz, Jill Schmidt, David Schoen, Hanna Schutt, Timothy Shugrue, Chella Strong, Jason Torrey, Janice Tung, Annie White, Eric Williams

Envision Cambridge is an ongoing three-year public process with the City of Cambridge, MA to develop a comprehensive plan for a livable, sustainable, and equitable city. By gathering and synthesizing inputs from those who live, work, study, and play in Cambridge, Interboro plays a vital role in developing a shared vision for the city’s future. The Envision Cambridge plan includes recommendations on a broad range of topics such as housing, mobility, economic opportunity, urban form, and climate and the environment. 


It can be a challenge to solicit input from people who don’t have the time or the inclination to attend a formal public meeting. For Envision Cambridge, Interboro developed a variety of tools to make it fun, quick, and easy for people to participate in comprehensive city planning processes. The Envision Cambridge Newspaper is a quarterly publication that explains current planning initiatives in clear and relatable ways, and portray Cambridge residents’ aspirations in a unique, fun, and engaging format. The features highlight lesser-known aspects of Cambridge while shedding light on under-represented communities. The newspaper is distributed across the city and complements Interboro’s other outreach efforts—including models, panels, and meetings— forming an important link between community aspirations and the agenda for the citywide plan.


We created a mobile engagement station that allows people to identify what they do and don’t like about Cambridge and share their hopes for the future. The Station has three layers: on top, a 3D model of Cambridge showing all buildings in the city; below that, a map of Cambridge land use, building footprints, and streets; and at bottom, custom stools in the shape of each of Cambridge’s neighborhoods.

Mobile Engagement Station

How can we make sure that we solicit the input of people who might not have the time or the inclination to attend a formal public meeting? A large part of our engagement effort will consist of “person-on-the-street” intercept surveys that make it fun and easy for people to participate in the comprehensive planning process. Towards this goal, we created a mobile engagement station that allows people to identify what they like and don’t like about Cambridge and share their hopes for the future. The Station has three layers. The top layer is a 3D model of Cambridge showing all the buildings in the city. The second layer is a map of Cambridge color-coded by land use and showing all streets and building footprints. The last layer consists of stools in the shape of each of Cambridge’s neighborhoods.

The Envision Cambridge Mobile Engagement Station is a large interactive model of Cambridge that gives Cambridge residents and workers the opportunity to identify what they like and don’t like about Cambridge and share their hopes for the future.


The station has three layers:


1. The top layer is a 3D model of Cambridge showing all the buildings in the city.


2. The second layer is a map of Cambridge, color-coded by land use and showing all streets and building footprints.


3. The third layer consists of stools in the shape of each of Cambridge’s neighborhoods.


An Envision Cambridge “Street Team” will be taking the Station to different locations around Cambridge. Look out for it in your neighborhood! When the Station is not in use, it stays at City Hall, where it will be used to visualize some of our findings.

Envision Cambridge Newsletter

The Envision Cambridge Newsletter is a quarterly publication. Mimicking the everyday aesthetic of weekly community newspapers, its intention is to capture interesting aspects of the city and portray Cambridge residents’ aspirations in a unique, fun, and engaging format. The features highlight lesser known aspects of the city while shedding light on under-represented communities By distributing copies of each issue across the city, the publication complements other outreach efforts--including models, panels, and meetings--to form an important link between the community’s aspirations and the agenda for the citywide plan.

Front page of the Envision Cambridge Newsletter

The Zoning Zone spread from the Envision Cambridge Newsletter

City Lens spread from the Envision Cambridge Newsletter

Interactive Games

Games and hands-on activities are a great way to make planning and design concepts seem more fun and accessible, rather than complicated and impenetrable. For Envision Cambridge, Interboro designed a series of tabletop games to help citizen planners of all ages understand zoning and land-use, floor area ratios, and right-of-way design. The games toured the city and made a big splash at community events across Cambridge.

The Corridor Game

The Right of Way Game

Final Plan Exhibirion

The exhibition showcases the final goals of the citywide plan and the engagement tools we designed to gather input during the planning process. It was on display at Cambridge City Hall and the Cambridge Public Library during January 2019.

Envision Cambridge exhibition at the GSD.

Planning