Cambridge Connected Strategic Plan

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It is time to update the strategic plan for the City of Cambridge, and we want to hear from you!

Why do we need a strategic plan?

A strategic plan provides a foundation for decision making, priority setting and ongoing performance management. Creating a strategic plan requires connecting with the community, to ensure the City’s services reflect the priorities of the people who live, work and play here.

The Cambridge Connected Strategic Plan will: connect the community’s vision and goals with the corporate mission, values and actions of the City; guide decision-making; help direct tax dollars to

It is time to update the strategic plan for the City of Cambridge, and we want to hear from you!

Why do we need a strategic plan?

A strategic plan provides a foundation for decision making, priority setting and ongoing performance management. Creating a strategic plan requires connecting with the community, to ensure the City’s services reflect the priorities of the people who live, work and play here.

The Cambridge Connected Strategic Plan will: connect the community’s vision and goals with the corporate mission, values and actions of the City; guide decision-making; help direct tax dollars to community priorities; and allow the community to measure progress.

Where we’ve been:

In January 2016, Cambridge City Council approved the first four-year community strategic plan, Cambridge Connected: Our Voice. Our Vision. Cambridge Connected brought together stakeholders in an extensive engagement process to develop the vision, mission and values that provide a starting point for the City’s priority setting.

The 2016-2019 plan identified 7 goals and 26 objectives. We reported on the implementation of the plan using our strategic plan dashboard (cambridge.ca/strategicplan) and annual business plans (cambridge.ca/businessplan)

What are the next steps?

We are now updating the strategic plan for the 2020 - 2023 time frame. The resulting plan must meet the needs of all stakeholders – community, Council and staff – in terms of decision making, priority setting and ongoing performance management in the City of Cambridge. We will approach this project in three phases:

  • Phase 1: Understanding where we’ve been (January to March)This will include a community satisfaction survey, orientation for the project team and Council, and a public launch event.
  • Phase 2: Where do we want to go as a community? (April to November) - This phase will involve significant public engagement and will be focused on understanding community priorities. A summary report will identify the goals and strategic objectives that will be further explored in Phase 3.
  • Phase 3: Moving forward (December to March 2021) – This phase will focus on action and implementation planning, and will look at opportunities for measurement and reporting.
  • Strategic Plan - Proposed Actions

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    The goals and objectives of the Strategic Plan were updated in January 2021 and the focus is now on refining the measurable strategic actions that the City will take to achieve these goals, and identifying the specific initiatives that will be used to complete them.

    GOALS are a ‘big picture’, long-term description of what we want to achieve

    OBJECTIVES are specific priority areas that work towards our goals

    ACTIONS are the measurable steps we will take to achieve these objectives

    After receiving more than 1,900 contributions over the past year, we have arrived at thirteen proposed actions to support the updated goals and objectives.

    Following the consultation period, specific and measurable targets will be set for each of the actions.

    After reviewing the proposed actions below, please provide your feedback by taking our survey.

    We are the LEAD for the following proposed actions

    Action statement (What we will do)

    Our Role (How we do this)

    Provide age-friendly services that are accessible to all

    This includes: advocating for the wellbeing of all residents; recognizing the unique needs of seniors, youth and equity-seeking groups; using multi-use recreation and cultural facilities to provide multi-generational, diverse and inclusive programs; and embracing universal design for accessibility

    We develop and deliver high-quality programs for children, youth and adults that meet the needs of a diverse and changing population

    Establish our core areas as attractive destinations

    This includes: promoting the rivers as a destination for residents and tourists (i.e. light displays); disciplined and consistent messaging to reinforce a single city with multiple core areas/hubs; creating the conditions to support more people living downtown; and targeting core areas as the focus of higher density residential development

    We plan for growth and make decisions and investments that encourage people to live and work in core areas

    Leverage our creative assets

    This includes: support the placemaking potential of arts, culture, heritage and events; and leveraging Cambridge’s central location and unique assets and features (i.e. tourism, Film Cambridge, recreation, architecture)

    We provide cultural facilities, programs and events, and support and promote creative industries such as film and theatre

    Create and activate spaces that offer things for people to do

    This includes: creating intentional community hubs for residents to gather and mix in neighbourhoods, core areas, and green spaces; promoting and supporting spaces and events that attract diverse, multi-generational audiences; working with neighbourhood associations and community centres; and investigating creating pedestrian only areas and community gateways

    We design, build and operate community spaces and implement programs and events

    Enhance equity and inclusion efforts

    This includes: embracing new residents and newcomers so they will choose to stay in Cambridge (e.g. Welcome Cambridge, cultural media outreach); building capacity to deliver initiatives and leadership opportunities that prioritize equity, diversity and inclusion; and delivering services that meet the needs of equity-seeking groups

    We demonstrate and champion equity and inclusion through our actions, while serving all members of the community in an equitable way.

    Lay the foundation for future community building

    This includes: a growth management strategy that includes a vision for growth and considers future impacts to core services; planning for infrastructure needs, including the recreation complex project and sponsorship strategy; and preparing for the LRT (Phase 2 ION).

    We develop clear, integrated plans to shape development activity with environmental, economic and social considerations in mind

    Enhance opportunities to enjoy built and natural heritage

    This includes: making rivers and parks more useable and accessible; addressing ongoing resources and maintenance requirements; increasing community participation in the ongoing care of our parks, natural spaces and environmental areas, and working with partners to improve and protect our natural heritage features

    We preserve, maintain and program natural and built heritage assets




    We will COLLABORATE on the following proposed actions


    Action statement (What we will do)

    Our Role (How we do this)


    Decrease dependency on single occupancy vehicles

    This includes: investing in green spaces and active transportation; preparing for the LRT and related development and vision for transit station areas; enhancing and connecting multi-use trails and other active transportation; investing in cycling infrastructure (Bike Your City); improving walkability in and between downtown and community hubs, including pedestrian friendly opportunities; and advocating and preparing for GO Transit

    We plan responsibly for growth, support and facilitate local connections and infrastructure, and participate in regional advocacy for large-scale transit infrastructure

    Enable small business to succeed

    This includes: supporting small, local business (e.g. partner with BIAs) and work to strengthen the local economic ecosystem; offering learning and growth-readiness supports; supporting newcomer entrepreneurship and opportunities to leverage the skills and connections of new residents; and developing relationships and partnerships with post-secondary institutions and community training programs.

    We deliver small business services through INVEST Cambridge and work with area BIAs, Chamber of Commerce, and regional partners to be responsive to needs

    Encourage safe and healthy neighbourhoods

    This includes: addressing safety concerns at the neighbourhood level (i.e. traffic safety) and creating and promoting intentional community hubs with unique personalities.

    We establish and support neighbourhoods by delivering services and partnering with community organizations

    Take meaningful action to combat climate change and prepare for emergencies

    This includes: meeting existing commitments and targets established by Council (e.g. “80 by 50” target for reduction of greenhouse gases), maintaining innovative proactive asset management practices; promoting and expecting ‘green development’ as a demonstration of the city’s commitment to address climate change; and demonstrating leadership and cooperation in preparing our community for the effects of climate change or unexpected events.

    We participate in Climate Action WR partnership and take meaningful actions at the municipal level to reduce GHG emissions and prepare for the future

    Increase housing options

    This includes enacting and creating innovative supports for attainable and affordable housing.

    We create local conditions that make it possible for Regional and other partners to diversify and create the types of housing available in the City

    Improve access to social supports

    This includes partnering in order to provide supports outside of the City’s mandate and using the means at the City’s disposal to respond to homelessness, mental health and addictions to support our most vulnerable residents (e.g. advocacy, daytime recreation facilities, bylaw on foot, core area activation, small business supports, review outreach needs and supports).

    We advocate for, communicate information about, and facilitate the establishment of social support services within Cambridge



  • Cambridge Connected: New Public Value Statement

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    As mentioned in the previous post, Cambridge City Council recently approved the Cambridge Connected goals and objectives. (A link to staff report 21-008(CRE) approved on January 12, 2021 can be found under "Important Links" on this page.)

    In addition to the goals and objectives, Council also approved a new Public Value statement. This statement speaks to how the City will conduct its work across all the goals of the strategic plan:

    "We will emphasize the importance of sustainability, leadership, collaboration, transparency and engagement as we deliver service excellence and promote pride of place.”

    During the consultation period, we heard how important these values were to all the stakeholder groups. Each value is further defined in the report (and in the Cambridge Connected Goals & Objectives document available as a PDF download from the "Document Library") as follows:

    Sustainability means that we will:

    • focus on the responsible management of financial resources, ensuring transparency and accountability
    • ensure that environmental sustainability principles are embedded in city decision-making processes and encourage innovative approaches to address environmental challenges
    • set a corporate example by aligning messaging, spending and decision-making with this strategy

    Leadership means that we will:

    • deliver a consistent, positive and unified narrative about Cambridge as a single, world class city that contains many unique areas
    • act as an accelerant and enabler of corporate and community stakeholder efforts to achieve this vision of pride of place
    • lead with conviction and authenticity around a bold, integrated vision for public good
    • recognize that we have an active role to play when other partners take the lead

    Collaboration means that we will:

    • actively work together with our partners and the community to achieve common goals and ensure representation of community interests
    • encourage a culture of innovation and engagement that allows all staff to contribute to the ongoing renewal of city services, programs and resources

    Transparency means that we will:

    • communicate often and openly and make sure messages are clear, timely and delivered consistently in a variety of ways
    • demonstrate how feedback is considered in the decision-making process
    • hold ourselves accountable by sharing the ongoing progress and results of this strategy

    Engagement means that we will:

    • provide the public with a wide range of ways that they can be involved in decision making
    • invest in ongoing community engagement and be responsive to emerging local concerns
    • participate in constructive two-way dialogue with our stakeholders
    • work to ensure inclusive participation

    More discussion around creating and evaluating a public value framework will be done in Phase 3, and there will also be more opportunities to contribute to the development of the strategic actions and implementation plan in the coming weeks.

  • Cambridge Connected Goals & Objectives Approved!

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    On January 12, 2021, Cambridge City Council received staff report 21-008(CRE) and approved the Cambridge Connected goals and objectives. The meeting of Council was recorded and can be viewed on the City's YouTube channel (opens in new tab), with the presentation starting at 36:50. A link to the complete report can also be found under "Important Links" on this page.

    Thank you to everyone who provided your input so far! We were pleased to receive more than 800 responses to our surveys and feedback opportunities in Phase 2, and look forward to additional opportunities to engage in Phase 3. Over the next three months, we'll be working to identify specific, measurable actions related to each of these objectives. For more information about some ideas and emerging themes for action, see the Cambridge Connected Goals & Objectives document available as a PDF download from the "Document Library"

    Within the themes of people, place and prosperity, there are three goals and eleven objectives:

    PEOPLE: Foster a community with heart, where everyone belongs and is cared for.

    Objectives:

    WELLBEING - Connect people to services that support individual and community wellbeing

    BELONGING - Be known as a safe and welcoming community where everyone feels like they matter

    INCLUSION - Deliver accessible, diverse and inclusive services, programs and infrastructure for all ages and abilities

    VIBRANT NEIGHBOURHOODS - Promote, facilitate and participate in the development safe and healthy neighbourhoods with a range of housing options


    Place: Embrace and celebrate our city’s unique character while enhancing the spaces where people connect.

    Objectives:

    PLACEMAKING – Promote and create a wide range of destinations and activities that capitalize on the beauty of the rivers and heritage buildings

    GREEN SPACES – Protect, enhance and steward our parks, green spaces and environmental areas

    PLANNING FOR GROWTH – Provide for a mix of development, uses and amenities in order to meet the needs of a changing and diverse population


    Prosperity: Build a vibrant and resilient city where current and future generations will live well

    Objectives:

    STRONG CORES - Create an inviting downtown that connects and complements core areas and neighbourhoods where people want to live and visit

    GETTING AROUND - Emphasize connectivity and active transportation choices to help people travel in and beyond the city without a car

    ECONOMIC INCLUSION & SUPPORT – Establish and extend inclusive programs to support business readiness and workforce development and help local businesses to thrive

    RESILIENCY – Use a future-oriented, proactive approach to climate action and emergency preparedness.

  • Cambridge Connected: Draft Goals and Objectives

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    Since we began the process of updating the City's strategic plan in early 2020, we have heard from more than 1,350 people. Now, we want to hear your input on the draft goals and objectives for the plan. This draft will be revised based on the feedback we receive before being presented to Council for approval. While the goals and objectives are still high-level, our goal with this feedback is to confirm and refine these statements so that we can proceed with more detailed action planning in early 2021. (You can take the survey and share your thoughts here until November 30th.)

    Based on the feedback received during Phases 1 & 2 of this project, the following three goals and 11 objectives are proposed:

    PEOPLE
    Goal: Foster a community with heart, where everyone belongs and is cared for.
    Objectives
    - WELLBEING - Connect people to services that support individual and community wellbeing
    - BELONGING - Be known as a safe and welcoming community where everyone feels like they matter
    - INCLUSION - Deliver accessible, inclusive services, programs and infrastructure for all ages
    - VIBRANT NEIGHBOURHOODS - Promote, facilitate and participate in the development safe and healthy neighbourhoods with a range of housing options

    PLACE
    Goal: Embrace and celebrate our city’s unique character while enhancing the spaces where people connect.
    Objectives
    - PLACEMAKING – Promote and create a wide range of destinations and activities that capitalize on the beauty of the rivers and heritage buildings
    - GREEN SPACES – Actively collaborate to protect and steward our parks, green spaces and environmental areas
    - PLANNING FOR GROWTH – Provide for a mix of development, uses and amenities in order to meet the needs of a changing and diverse population

    PROSPERITY
    Goal: Build a vibrant and sustainable city where current and future generations will live well.
    Objectives
    - A STRONG DOWNTOWN - Create an inviting downtown that connects and complements core areas and neighbourhoods where people want to live and visit
    - GETTING AROUND - Emphasize connectivity and active transportation choices to help people travel in and beyond the city without a car
    - ECONOMIC INCLUSION & SUPPORT – Establish and extend inclusive programs to support business readiness and workforce development and help local businesses to thrive
    - RESILIENCY – Use a future-oriented, proactive approach to climate action and emergency preparedness

    The city is also looking to include a new statement around PUBLIC VALUE that commits to the principles of leadership, collaboration, sustainability, engagement and communication across all the actions of the plan.

    The draft public value statement is: "We will deliver public value while providing service excellence and promoting pride of place. Our public value principles are: sustainability, leadership, collaboration, engagement and communication."

    The survey to share your feedback on these items is open until November 30th.

  • Project Update: Community Priorities Survey

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    Since this project began at the start of the year, we have been working to understand the emerging priorities for Cambridge residents, community stakeholders, staff and Council. We first checked in with the community through our Community Satisfaction Survey (PDF report) and public launch event in February. After pausing public engagement in the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we launched Phase 2 digital engagement in August Using online surveys, virtual focus groups, and a public Council workshop (which can be viewed here) we have further refined the themes that emerged in Phase 1.

    Through it all, we have heard that government transparency, community safety and addressing social issues are top priorities for community members. Cambridge is a lower-tier municipality within the Region of Waterloo, and each level of government has different roles and responsibilities. In Cambridge, the areas of public health, community services, police services, social planning and community housing are all led by the Region, but there are still things we can do that can assist in making positive changes in these areas.

    Today, we’ve launched a brief survey aimed at understanding what actions the City should take in order to do its part to improve and address these priority issues in our community. Please help us shape the next steps of our strategic planning process and “Tell Us About: Community Priorities”.

  • Introducing the Cambridge Connected graphics!

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    supporting image

    As part of updating the Cambridge Connected strategic plan, we are also updating its look and feel. The new Cambridge Connected icon set will be used in all future communications about the plan as well as in the final document and reports.

    The main Cambridge Connected graphic forms a double-span bridge inspired by the City of Cambridge logo and the Main Street bridge, while the two colours of blue below connote the two rivers. The shape forms an infinite loop while also retaining the form of two “C”s for Cambridge Connected.

    Additional graphics developed for the themes of PEOPLE, Place and Prosperity use the same base treatment as the Cambridge Connected, creating a recognizable and cohesive look and feel.

    The PEOPLE graphic re-imagines the bridges and rivers as two figures holding each other:

    In the PLACE graphic, the bridges and rivers are reoriented as four arrows converging at a single point:

    For PROSPERITY the bridges and rivers are connected with an 8-point star that expands in all directions:

    Look for these graphics as we move forward with our Phase 2 engagement planning.

  • Project Update: What's next in Phase 2?

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    As the City settles into new routines and realities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are pleased to share that the progress of the Cambridge Connected 2020-2023 strategic plan is continuing. On July 14th, Council received staff report 20-067(CRE) (starting on page 21) summarizing all Phase 1 activity, including engaging with more than 1000 people through events, presentations and surveys. This report includes the results of the City's first Community Satisfaction Survey conducted by Forum Research in February. You can also download Forum's final report in the Document Library section of this project page.

    In the month of August you will see increased activity on this project page as we initiate our second phase of community engagement. Stay tuned for regular project updates and digital engagement opportunities, including questions and polls that will help to further expand on what we've heard from the community so far!

  • April Update

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    The City of Cambridge is continuing to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and, in consultation with Region of Waterloo Public Health, taking steps to help prevent the spread of infection in the community. City Hall is currently closed to the public until May 4th, however City staff in corporate divisions are currently working from home where possible and can be contacted by email or phone on city-related business. For full updates on the City of Cambridge's COVID-19 response, please visit www.cambridge.ca/COVID19

    As a result of facility closures and social distancing requirements, community engagement activities and events for the strategic plan are currently on hold until further notice; however, we continue to work on the review of existing plans and strategies, as well as plan ahead for future opportunities. This page will remain active, and we encourage you to reach out anytime with ideas or questions.

  • Heading into ‘Phase 2’: Understanding where we want to go

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    The month of March marks the beginning of our second phase of Cambridge Connected strategic plan development.

    We are now moving from reviewing the past four years and understanding where we’ve been, towards refining our goals and understanding where we need to go in the future. All of the feedback received to date will be part of this process, and a full summary report of all Phase 1 activity will be brought to City Council in April.

    We are also pleased to announce that Openly Inc. has been awarded the contract to assist with the strategy development, data analysis and community consultation for Phases 2 and 3 of this project. This is the result of a competitive process following a request for proposals that was issued in January 2020 to seek consulting services. Openly is a certified B-Corp company based in Guelph, with experience in strategy, stakeholder engagement, research and evaluation.

    Stay tuned for more engagement opportunities and information in the coming weeks!


  • February Wrap-up

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    We've come to the end of our first month of sharing this project through EngageCambridge!

    Thank you to all who came out to the Cambridge Connected launch event on February 26th at the Old Post Office. We were very pleased to see more than 55 people in attendance, despite the snowy weather. If you missed it, don't worry -- this was just the first of many opportunities you'll have to connect with us in the coming months.

    Speaker Sylvia Cheuy of Tamarack also shared her keynote slides from Wednesday's presentation with us, which you can find as a PDF download in the 'Document Library' on the main project page.

    We also wrapped up the community satisfaction survey on Friday, February 28th and will be analyzing the results and sharing them in the next month. We received more than 540 responses to the online survey, as well as 400 hundred results in the telephone survey conducted by Forum Research. Thank you for your participation!