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Cambridge

Cambridge Apartments


Cambridge is a city in the Greater Boston area of Massachusetts, United States. It was named in honor of Cambridge, England. Cambridge is most famous for the two prominent universities that call it home: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 101,355, though even more people commute into Cambridge to work.

Cambridge is a county seat of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, along with Lowell. However, the county government was abolished in 1997. Although the county still exists as a geographical and political region, with Middlesex County courts and jails and such, county employees now work for the state.

The diversity of the population is striking. Residents, known as Cantabrigians, range from distinguished MIT and Harvard professors to working-class families to immigrants from around the world.

This diversity contributes to the liberal atmosphere, and may be compared to Berkeley, California, in some respects. This, along with the history of student protests and the unconventional city government format, leads to the toungue-in-cheek moniker of the “People’s Republic of Cambridge.”

Cambridge has also been called the “City of Squares” by some, as most of its commercial districts are major street intersections known as squares. Each of the squares acts as something of a neighborhood center.

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, 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.

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. The neighborhood north of Harvard but 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 a Red Line station.

Inman Square, at the junction of Cambridge and Hampshire streets in Mid-Cambridge.
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.

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. Of the computer-industry firms that once dominated the Cambridge economy, only Akamai remains a top-20 employer. However, many smaller start-ups and entrepreneurial companies remain an important part of the Cambridge employment scene.

Cambridge has several bike paths, including one along the Charles River [3], the Minuteman Bikeway and the Linear Park connecting Alewife and the Somerville Community Path. Bike parking is common and there are bike lanes on many streets, although concerns have been expressed regarding the suitability of many of the lanes. From time to time, police target their traffic enforcement efforts towards bicyclists who do not follow the Rules of the Road for vehicles, especially going through red lights, failure to stop for pedestrians at unsignalized crosswalks, riding on the wrong side of the street or the wrong way on a one-way street, and riding without a headlight at night. Cambridge has an active, official bicycle committee.