Analyzing the Size and Scale of Cambridge Districts

After I submitted my zoning petition to the city, the CDD fairly criticized that I didn't submit any research along with it. I had done some research, but nothing worth publishing or submitting. Although my petition has expired, I found it valuable to actually conduct a research study to show exactly by how much Cambridge is under zoned.

This paper was submitted to the Cambridge City Council as communication COM 1525 #2023.


All the maps I used and more are available in my maps archive.


Whenever citizen’s zoning petitions are filed, a number of critiques are raised which result in debates about how much up-zoning is too much up-zoning, whether neighborhoods should maintain their “look and feel,” and if our current zoning reflects what already exists. The petition I submitted in early 2023 claims that the current zoning in fact prohibits new construction of similar existing buildings and seeks to undo that. A common critique of that petition is that not sufficient research has presented to justify the suggested amendments.

Using property assessment and GIS data provided by the City of Cambridge, this study seeks to perform a comparison of the “look and feel” of Cambridge City districts and neighborhoods to their underlying zoning ordinances.

The results will show that the lived experience of specific neighborhoods or zoning districts are incongruent with the zoning restrictions impressed upon them.

Full Paper