Walk down Broadway Street in Kendall Square today and no matter where you turn there is something exciting brewing: a new biotech company, a trendy restaurant, or a venture capital-funded think tank.
However, four decades ago that wasn't the case. If you drove down Main Street in the 1970s, you were more likely to find abandoned buildings and empty factories. In contrast, today the area is a hotbed of innovation, entrepreneurship, and cutting-edge technology--as well as home to more than 150 high-tech companies, including global corporate giants like Genzyme, Google, Microsoft, and Biogen Idec. Another "giant" in the city—and one of the main reasons the area is known as an innovation hub--is MIT, the institution that has collaborated with the city to revitalize the area and has played an integral part in the area's resurgence.
"Kendall Square is the epicenter, but the reach is all around the edge of campus, "says MIT Provost Martin Schmidt, who is also Co-Chair of the MIT Building Committee. According to Schmidt, there’s a plan afoot to create "a gateway and a sense of destination" in Kendall Square. In 2013, the City of Cambridge approved MIT's petition to transform 26 acres of Institute-owned property in the Kendall Square/East Campus area. The new zoning will preserve existing academic development potential and enable the creation of new housing, retail, lab and commercial space, as well as more engaging open space. Schmidt says future plans also include a new home for the MIT Museum, as well as more academic space, graduate dormitories, and a childcare center.