Developing an Award-Winning Retail Strategy to Support Vibrant Commercial Districts Across Cambridge, MA

The City of Cambridge has experienced rapid changes in consumer purchasing habits, particularly with the growth in online shopping. In Cambridge, 60% of residents made a personal purchase online in 2016, compared to 42% nationally. We supported the city in creating a set of market-informed and community-supported public policy and program tools to grow viable ground level active uses across nine districts.

The Retail Strategic Plan resulted in a number of concrete interventions that increased administrative capacity and addressed regulatory barriers at City- and district-level. The study drove home the increased need for retailers to explore new formats and businesses models that have created land use classification challenges. As a result, the City adopted recommendations for updates to the Commercial Land Use Classification codes.


annual budget from newly formed Business Improvement District

2 Years

of funding approved for vacant storefront creative design program


new staff person funded to support plan execution