Microsegregation in Diverse Neighborhoods | How Housing Matters

Microsegregation in Diverse Neighborhoods

July 28, 2015  
 
 
 

The South End of Boston has been economically and racially diverse for decades, creating an opportunity to examine the dynamics of social interaction in a stable urban neighborhood. Using interviews and other data, the study analyzes behaviors that influence inclusion or exclusion. Residents reported benefits to living in an economically-diverse neighborhood, but their daily activities and networks reveal patterns of microsegregation – homogeneity of interactions despite diverse surroundings.

Major findings:

  • Through daily routines, school choices, and neighborhood association membership, residents maintained microsegregation—segregation within the neighborhood—despite the area’s diversity.
  • Mixed-income residential buildings and a mix of incomes along the same street reduced microsegregation, highlighting the crucial importance of housing types and locations.
  • Lower-income residents credited diversity for greater responsiveness from the city, creating higher feelings of safety.
  • Low-income residents reported feeling unwelcome in organizations, establishments, and places geared toward higher income levels and homeowners.
  • Around half of the higher-income survey respondents reported avoiding streets and parks adjacent to subsidized housing.
  • Lower-income residents did not believe that diversity assisted upward economic mobility.
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Author: Laura M. Tach
Publication Date: 2014
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