New Technology for the Cambridge Community Learning Center and the Main Library!

We are delighted to share that the winning PB7 proposal "Bridging the Digital Divide” ($95,000)" has been completed and installed at the Cambridge Community Learning Center (CLC) and the Main Library! To help address digital equity, the PB proposal called for purchasing 100 Chromebooks and 75 mobile hotspots for the Cambridge Community Learning Center and Public Library to better serve their adult learners and borrowers. As of March 2022, CLC learners and community borrowers at the Main Library can now access these new devices. Below is a photo of the new technology at CLC, for more pictures, please check out the project proposal page here!


Vote on PB Projects December 3 - 12

Participatory Budgeting voting is around the corner! The City of Cambridge invites residents age 12 and older (including all 6th graders) to vote on projects to improve the city from December 3-12, 2021. This process is open to everyone in the Cambridge community, including non-U.S. citizens and university students.  

Starting December 3, Cambridge residents can vote online at:  

Online voting will be text message authenticated; voters will enter their cell phone number on the PB website, a code will be sent to them via text message or email, and then they will enter that code online for one-time access to the ballot. The online ballot will be available in English, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Spanish, Portuguese, Amharic, Arabic, and Bengali.

Residents can also vote over the phone by calling the Budget Office at 617-349-4270 during regular business hours: Friday, Dec. 3, from 8:30 a.m. - 12 p.m., Monday, Dec. 6, from 8:30 a.m.– 8 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, Dec. 7- 9, from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Friday Dec. 10, from 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Past winning PB projects have included musical instruments for CRLS students, universal swing sets in parks, laundry access in Cambridge public schools, pedestrian-controlled crosswalk lights, bilingual books for kids, extension of outdoor Wi-Fi, and many others.

Projects are eligible for funding if they:

  • Benefit the public; 
  • Are capital projects (something bought or built); 
  • Are one-time expenditures that cost $1 million or less; 
  • Are implemented by the City of Cambridge on city property (streets, sidewalks, parks, libraries, schools, youth centers, senior centers, municipal buildings, etc.).

New Laundry Access in Public Schools!

We are proud to announce that the winning PB6 proposal "Laundry Access in Public Schools ($50,000)" has been completed and installed at Cambridge Rindge and Latin and Cambridge Street Upper Schools! The proposal called for installing washers and dryers for students who do not have easy access to laundry services to use for their clothing and necessities. As of October 2021, students at CRLS and CSUS can now access these new laundry units. Below is a photo of the new Falcons Laundromat at CRLS, for more pictures, please check out the project proposal page here!


Participatory Budgeting (PB) is back!

For the 8th time since PB launched in Cambridge in 2014, Cambridge residents will be able to choose how to spend part of the City’s Capital budget. This cycle, the City has committed $1,000,000 in FY22 capital funds for PB projects, doubling the allocation from $500,000 in last year's condensed and modified COVID-19 PB7 cycle.

Anyone interested in submitting PB ideas for how to improve Cambridge please click HERE, or:

Telephone: 617-349-4270

Email: [email protected]

Mail: City of Cambridge Budget Office, 795 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA 02139

Drop off ideas at the back of City Hall in the white drop-box.

Cambridge residents who would like to volunteer and have a more hands on approach in the PB process can volunteer as Budget delegates HERE

Budget Delegates are volunteers who work in the fall to research, evaluate, and prioritize the project ideas submitted by community members from August - November. Budget Delegates ultimately develop the final project proposals for the annual PB vote in December. They do this through research, community assessments, and site visits, as well as through consultations with City staff regarding project feasibility and cost. Budget Delegates evaluate submitted ideas on three main criteria: need, impact, and feasibility. This years' Budget Delegate Orientation will be on Tuesday, August 3rd from 6-8pm. The deadline to apply is August 1, 2021.


As Cambridge emerges from such a difficult and tumultuous period, it is our sincere hope that PB8 can serve as a vessel to re-animate our bonds of fellowship through collaboration and participation. We hope that Cantabrigians can get back to working together to tackle issues through PB with an innovative civic spirit that will form new relationships with community members and City officials. In doing so, not only will Cambridge bear the fruits of creative PB projects, but residents will be able to once again be able to claim and improve the parks, streets, and community spaces that make our City so special.


2019 PB Vote Results

The results are in for the City of Cambridge’s sixth Participatory Budget (PB) Process. 7,602 Cambridge residents age 12 and older voted to decide how to spend $1,000,000 on capital projects to improve the community – the most votes yet in a PB process in Cambridge, a 11% increase from last year! 

The following 8 projects won $1,125,000 in FY21 Capital Funding:

1.   Close the Canopy ($200,000)

2.   Water Bottle Filling Stations for the Major Squares ($150,000)

3.   Laundry Access in Public Schools ($50,000)

4.  Pedestrian-Controlled Crosswalk Lights ($150,000)

5. Extend Outdoor WiFi ($50,000)

6.  Make the City Bloom with a Habitat Corridor ($75,000)

7. Keeping Cambridge Clean ($100,000)

8. Public Bathroom ($350,000)

Please see below for a breakdown of PB votes by project.

Read more

Our Summer! Idea Collection with the PB Interns

Follow the journey of two of our Summer Interns as they describe their summer collecting ideas for Participatory Budgeting in Cambridge!

Read more

16 PB Projects are Complete!

We are proud to announce that as of March 25, 2019, sixteen of the projects from Cambridge’s first three Participatory Budgeting cycles are complete with more to be completed in 2019!

Last summer, two PB3 projects were completed; PV panels were installed on the main library for the Solar Power Shines idea and six flashing lights were installed at the Safer Crosswalks for busy roads at Mass Ave at Davenport St, Mass Ave at Dudley St, Mass Ave at Washburn Ave, Prospect St at St. Mary Road, and Huron Ave at West Cambridge Youth Center! Head over to these locations to try out the flashing lights!

Look out for all these projects around Cambridge, from the prepared food van that is being used by the nonprofit Food for Free, to green bike lands and sharrows and even new chairs at CRLS and the Amigos School.

Many thanks to the originally idea submitters, the PB Budget Delegates, PB Voters and the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department for making this project come to fruition.

(Flashing light signs at Huron Ave crosswalk across from the West Cambridge Youth Center)

2018 PB Vote Results

The results are in for the City of Cambridge’s fifth Participatory Budget (PB) Process. Over 6,849 Cambridge residents age 12 and older voted to decide how to spend $900,000 on capital projects to improve the community – the most votes yet in a PB process in Cambridge.

The following 6 projects won $925,000 in FY20 Capital Funding:

  1. Trees, please! ($200,000)
  2. Water Fountains in Every Park ($90,000)
  3. Protect the Health and Safety of our Firefighters ($110,000)
  4. Smoother Cycling ($250,000)
  5. Clean Up Cambridge ($125,000)
  6. Rain Gardens for Resiliency ($150,000)

Please see below for a breakdown of PB votes by project.

Read more

Central Square Toilet Open for Business

The Central Square Public Toilet, a winning project from the City's inaugural Participatory Budgeting process, officially opened for business in January 2018.  The steel "Portland Loo" toilet is located on Western Avenue near the intersection with Massachusetts Avenue.  The toilet is free, accessible, and open 24/7 to the public. 

Check it out next time you're in Central Square!



2017 PB Vote Results

The results of the 2017 Participatory Budgeting vote are in! 

6,778 Cambridge residents age 12+ voted between December 2-8, 2017.  This is a 43% increase over the previous year!   Many thanks to our Outreach Committee, Budget Delegates, and other volunteers who worked hard to spread the word.

The following 7 projects won $867,000 in FY19 capital funding:

Please see below for a breakdown of PB votes by project.

Read more