Boston Magazine: How Has Boston Gotten Away with Being Segregated for So Long?

Boston Magazine, December 8, How Has Boston Gotten Away with Being Segregated for So Long?

Boston may appear to lack diversity, but that is only because it is still mostly segregated. Many factors are at a play, with the end result leaving many Black neighborhoods susceptible to gentrification.

This set up Black neighborhoods for a wave of gentrification in the wake of the crisis, when homes throughout Boston’s Black neighborhoods where working-class families once lived were bought up by real estate investors and resold to higher-paying homeowners, Owens says. A recently released study by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition found that nationwide, between 2013 and 2017, Boston ranked third for gentrification.

This process is perhaps the greatest irony of the saga of segregation. People who were once forced to live in certain Boston neighborhoods are currently being forced out of those places now that they’re seen as desirable in the eyes of white people. Many displaced Black families who are not doubling up with other families in crowded living spaces are leaving the city altogether for more affordable places such as Brockton, Fall River, New Bedford, and Randolph.

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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