Cambridge

Cambridge, Massachusetts is a beautiful city located just north of the City of Boston, across the Charles River. Cambridge may be best known for its prestigious academic institutions, such as Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). This 6.5 square-mile city is rich in cultural and social diversity with its more than 100,000 residents. The diversity of the population is striking. It ranges from distinguished Harvard professors to immigrants from Latin America. This diversity contributes to the liberal atmosphere, and may be compared to Berkeley, California, in some respects. It is sometimes referred to as the "People’s Republic of Cambridge" because of the city’s famously liberal politics; political organizers often congregate at the Red Line T station in Harvard Square.

The 2000 census reported that Cambridge contained nearly 50,000 housing units, of which the majority was apartments. Many conversion projects have been completed over the past decade or so in which older schools, churches, and warehouses have been redeveloped into luxury condos and apartments. The Cambridge real estate market is very strong, and the average price of a home, and condo, has increased steadily over the past ten years.

Cambridge has been called the city of Squares, most likely because most of its major street intersections are known as Squares. (In the Greater Boston area, a "Square" is merely a major intersection. Very few of these "squares" have four sides. Both of these facts stem from the usually stated origin of squares. The traditional square is said to be the result of the arc swept out by timber brought through on roadways to market/port.) 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, which is served by the MBTA red line subway. A flourishing biotech industry has grown up around here.

– 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 has become more gentrified in recent years, and continues to grow more expensive. It is served by the MBTA red line subway.

– 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. Like Central Square, – Harvard Square has become increasingly gentrified in recent years. It includes many interesting stores, and has the highest concentration of bookstores in the country. It is served by the MBTA red line subway.
– Porter Square, about a mile north on Mass. Ave from Harvard Square, formed by the junction of Mass. Ave and Somerville Ave. Served by the MBTA Red Line subway.