After a year-long branding and naming process, Cambridge Waterfront Development Inc. (CWDI) board members voted on April 28, 2022, to brand the 35-acre waterfront site, Cambridge Harbor.
The decision was made after a Community Workshop in early April, where community members in attendance had the opportunity to provide feedback on the project’s name. Before the workshop, through a series of meetings with BCT Design Group (BCT), CWDI’s Community Advisory Committee (CAC)— a diverse group of locals tasked with spearheading the naming and branding of the project—had narrowed down choices for the project’s name to three final options: Port Cambridge, Cambridge Harbor, and Waterfront Cambridge. These three names were derived from an original list of over forty, each crafted based on research about Cambridge’s heritage and the site’s previous history.
“Authentic developments should be built on various methods of communication with the community. Open knowledge-sharing sessions, direct-response surveys, in-person public workshops, and diverse focus groups are all tools we have used to converse with Cambridge as a community,” says Brennan Murray, BCT’s Branding & Graphics Studio Director. “We continued to uncover during our work sessions that there were two things that draw people to this place: water and heritage. Many comments from the public workshop confirmed that the community appreciated the sensitivity around the site’s naming and felt the process reflected Cambridge’s unique historical, cultural, and ecological position.”
Through an in-person voting system, the community ultimately chose Cambridge Harbor. These results were then presented to the [CAC] and CWDI’s board, and in agreement, with the community’s vote, they selected Cambridge Harbor. Honoring Cambridge’s maritime roots as a “harbor,” the site is not only a place to seek shelter but also a place for both passive and active exchanges or experiences along the water’s edge. With the opportunity to make written comments, attendees of the April 8 Community Workshop expressed their thoughts on the name. “I grew up in New England. Harbors both have industry and recreation, which is important to Cambridge and its history;” [The name] … captures what we have, and hopefully where we are going.”
With over 30 years of association with the site, it was also crucial for CWDI and the design team to retain the site’s equity in the “Sailwinds” name. Ultimately it was decided that “Sailwinds Park” would represent the public greenspaces along the waterfront of Cambridge Harbor. This decision aligned with the community’s strong feelings toward keeping the waterfront accessible to the public. “The open-access public area already in existence and known as Sailwinds Park is the heart of the waterfront property,” says Matt Leonard, CWDI’s Executive Director. “CWDI is committed to improving, fully activating, and maintaining that space.”
“Having an effective place name —a brand with which people can identify—helps us distinguish and promote the site,” says Mr. Leonard. “It sets the tone for those who will help us develop it and for the community and visitors who will enjoy it for generations to come.”