Cambridge, Massachusetts is a city in the Greater Boston area of Massachusetts, United States. It was named in honor of the University of Cambridge in England. Cambridge is most famous for the two prominent universities that call it home: Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 101,355. It is the fifth most populous city in the state.
Cambridge is a county seat of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, along with Lowell. Though the county government was abolished in 1997, the county still exists as a geographical and political region. The employees of Middlesex County courts, jails, registries, and other county agencies now work directly for the state.
About the city
Cambridge is noted for its diverse population, both racially and economically. Residents, known as Cantabrigians, range from affluent MIT and Harvard professors to working-class families to immigrants. The first legal applications in America for same-sex marriage licenses were issued at Cambridge's City Hall.
The city and its universities, particularly Harvard, have strong leftist traditions, with some (typically outside the city) even referring to the city as the PRC, or the "People's Republic of Cambridge" and Harvard as the "Kremlin on the Charles". Cambridge is also known as "Boston's Left Bank" (although it is not part of the city of Boston).
Cambridge has also been called the "City of Squares" by some, as most of its commercial districts are major street intersections known as squares. Because most streets were laid out centuries ago, few of these squares resemble a geometric square in any way. Harvard Square is in fact a triangular region formed by two converging curved streets. Each of the squares acts as something of a neighborhood center. These include:
- Kendall Square, formed by the junction of Broadway, Main Street, and Third Street. Just over the Longfellow Bridge from Boston, at the eastern end of the MIT campus. It is served by an MBTA Red Line station. Most of Cambridge's large office towers are located here, giving the area somewhat of an office park feel. A flourishing biotech industry has grown up around here. The "One Kendall Square" complex is nearby, but—confusingly—not actually in Kendall Square.
- Central Square, formed by the junction of Massachusetts Avenue, Prospect Street, and Western Avenue. This is perhaps the closest thing Cambridge has to a downtown, and is well-known for its wide variety of ethnic restaurants. Even as recently as the late 1990s it was rather run-down; it underwent a controversial gentrification in recent years (in conjunction with the development of the nearby University Park at MIT), and continues to grow more expensive. It is served by a Red Line station. Lafayette Square, formed by the junction of Massachusetts Avenue, Columbia Street, Sidney Street, and Main Street, is considered a part of the Central Square area. Cambridgeport is south of Central Square along Magazine Street and Brookline Street.
- Harvard Square, formed by the junction of Mass. Avenue, Brattle Street, and JFK Street. This is the site of Harvard University, the oldest university in the United States and is a major Cambridge shopping area (although not as exclusively so as in years past). It is served by a Red Line station. Harvard Square was originally the northern terminus of the Red Line and a major transfer point to streetcars that also operated in a short tunnel – which is still a major bus terminal, although the area under the Square was reconfigured dramatically in the 1980s when the Red Line was extended. The Harvard Square area includes Brattle Square and Eliot Square. A short distance away from the square lies the Cambridge Common, while the neighborhood north of Harvard and east of Mass. Ave. is known as Agassiz in honor of the famed scientist Louis Agassiz.
- Porter Square, about a mile north on Mass. Ave from Harvard Square, formed by the junction of Mass. Ave and Somerville Ave, and including part of the city of Somerville. It is served by the Porter Square station which includes a Red Line stop and a Fitchburg Line commuter rail stop in the same building.
- Inman Square, at the junction of Cambridge and Hampshire streets in Mid-Cambridge. The most "funky" and "unique" of the squares, Inman Square is home to comedy club ImprovBoston, as well as many diverse restaurants, bars and boutiques. Ryles Jazz Club and the S&S restaurant are two legends of Inman Square. The funky street scene still holds some urban flair but was dressed up recently with Victorian streetlights, benches and bus stops. A new community park was installed and is a favorite place to enjoy some takeout food from the nearby restaurants and ice cream parlor.
- Lechmere Square, at the junction of Cambridge and First streets, adjacent to the CambridgeSide Galleria shopping mall. Perhaps best known as the eastern terminus of the MBTA Green Line subway.
The residential neighborhoods (map) in Cambridge border, but are not defined by the squares. These include:
- East Cambridge (Area 1) is bordered on the north by the Somerville border, on the east by the Charles River, on the south by Broadway and Main Street, then on the west by railroad tracks.
- MIT Campus (Area 2) is bordered on the north by Broadway and on the south and east by the Charles River, then on the west by railroad tracks.
- Wellington-Harrington (Area 3) bordered on the north by the Somerville border and on the south and west by Hampshire Street, then on the east by railroad tracks.
- Area 4 is bordered on the north by Hampshire Street and on the south by Massachusetts Avenue, then on the west by Prospect Street and on the east by railroad tracks. Residents of Area 4 often refer to their neighborhood as simply "Port", and refer to the area of Cambridgeport and riverside as "Coast". "Port" is often associated with the number 44 and the slogan "Port Life 44" refers to the area's number.
- Cambridgeport (Area 5) is bordered on the north by Massachusetts Avenue and on the south by the Charles River, then on the west by River Street and on the east by railroad tracks.
- Mid Cambridge (Area 6) is bordered on the north by Kirkland and Hampshire Streets and the Somerville border and on the south by Massachusetts Avenue, then on the west by Peabody Street and on the east by Prospect Street.
- Riverside (Area 7) this area, sometimes referred to as "Coast" is bordered on the north by Massachusetts Avenue and on the south by the Charles River, then on the west by JFK Street and on the east by River Street.
- Agassiz (Harvard North) (Area 8) is bordered on the north by the Somerville border and on the south and east by Kirkland Street, then on the west by Massachusetts Avenue.
- Radcliffe/Avon Hill/Neighborhood 9 (Area 9) is bordered on the north by railroad tracks and on the south by Concord Avenue, then on the west by railroad tracks and on the east by Massachusetts Avenue. The Avon Hill sub-neighborhood consists of the higher elevations bounded by Upland Road, Raymond Street, Linnaean Street and Mass Ave.
- Brattle area/West Cambridge (Area 10) is bordered on the north by Concord Avenue and Garden Street and on the south by the Charles River and the Watertown border, then on the west by the eastern shore of Fresh Pond and the Collins Branch Library and on the east by JFK Street. It includes the sub-neignborhoods of Brattle Street and Huron Village.
- North Cambridge (Area 11) is bordered on the north by the Arlington border and partially the Somerville border and on the south by the railroad tracks, then on the west by the Belmont border and on the east by the Somerville border.
- Cambridge Highlands (Area 12) is bordered on the north and east by railroad tracks and on the south by the north shore of the Fresh Pond, then on the west by the Belmont border.
- Strawberry Hill (Area 13) is bordered on the north by the south shore of Fresh Pond and on the south by the Watertown border, then on the west by the Belmont border and on the east by railroad tracks.
At the western edge of Cambridge, Mount Auburn Cemetery is well known as the first garden cemetery, for its distinguished inhabitants, for its superb landscaping (the oldest planned landscape in the country), and as a first-rate arboretum.
Although one often sees references to the "Boston/Cambridge area" in print, Cambridge prefers to retain its own unique and legally-separate identity.
As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 101,355 people, 42,615 households, and 17,599 families residing in the city. The population density was 6,086.1/km² (15,766.1/mi²), making Cambridge the 5th most densely populated city in the U.S. There were 44,725 housing units at an average density of 2,685.6/km² (6,957.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 68.10% White, 11.92% Black or African American, 0.29% Native American, 11.88% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 3.19% from other races, and 4.56% from two or more races. 7.36% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. This rather closely parallels the average racial demographics of the United States as a whole, although Cambridge has significantly more Asians than the average, and fewer Hispanics and Caucasians.
There were 42,615 households out of which 17.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 29.1% were married couples living together, 9.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 58.7% were non-families. 41.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.03 and the average family size was 2.83.
In the city the population was spread out with 13.3% under the age of 18, 21.2% from 18 to 24, 38.6% from 25 to 44, 17.8% from 45 to 64, and 9.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 96.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $47,979, and the median income for a family was $59,423. Males had a median income of $43,825 versus $38,489 for females. The per capita income for the city was $31,156. About 8.7% of families and 12.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.1% of those under age 18 and 12.9% of those age 65 or over.
Cambridge was ranked as one of the most liberal cities in America. Its FY 2007 residential property tax rate, $7.48 per $1000 of assessed valuation, is one of the lowest in Massachusetts. Cambridge enjoys the highest possible bond credit rating, AAA, with all three Wall Street rating agencies.
A view from Boston of Harvard's Weld Boathouse and Cambridge. The Charles River
is in the foreground.
At least 129 of the world's total 780 Nobel Prize winners have been, at some point in their careers, affiliated with universities in Cambridge.
Cambridge is host to many public and private schools serving the children of Cambridge.
Cambridge's public schools are operated by Cambridge Public Schools. The only public high school in Cambridge is Cambridge Rindge and Latin (also known as CRLS).
There are many private schools in the city, serving a variety of needs of both parents and students, including:
Cambridge is also home to the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.
Although manufacturing was an important part of the late 19th and early 20th-century Cambridge economy, today long-established educational institutions are its biggest employers; Harvard employs over 10,000 people and MIT over 9,500. As a famous cradle of technological innovation, Cambridge is also home to legendary technology firms, including Analog Devices, VMware, Akamai, BBN, Lotus Development Corporation (now part of IBM), Polaroid, Thinking Machines, and Google.
Over the years, as companies have grown, prospered, and then either moved away or gone out of business (see this list of employers for more information), Cambridge's large-scale employment has shifted tremendously. In 1996, Polaroid, Arthur D. Little, and Lotus were all top employers with over 1,000 people in Cambridge, and all declined or disappeared a few years later. As of 2005, alongside Harvard and MIT, health care and biotechnology dominate the Cambridge economy, with Genzyme, Biogen Idec, and Novartis the biggest players. Biotech's geographical locus is Kendall Square and East Cambridge, the center of much of the city's manufacturing a century before. A number of biotechnology companies are also located in University Park at MIT, a new development in another former manufacturing area. None of the computer-industry firms that once dominated the Cambridge economy are top-20 employers as of 2005. However, many smaller start-ups and entrepreneurial companies remain an important part of the Cambridge employment scene.
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