Walking Boston yesterday, from the hotel north via Newbury Street toward Quincy Market, then through the North End, back around Beacon Hill, and back to the convention hotel area. Lots of rehabilitation of old housing going on, upscale condo developments and the associated upscale services. It is pretty, we were having fun. But I could not help but notice how few Black folks there were on the streets. I recently read David Wilson’s Cities and Race: America’s New Black Ghetto. The short version of his argument is that an important part of “revitalizing” cities involved banishing poor Blacks from the [White] affluent civic gaze which, he says, supports the interests of real estate interests who make a lot of money on the creation of value through gentrification and other processes. Part of what he talks about is intense and aggressive policing in many cities to stop and harass poor Blacks who venture into the gentrified areas. I have not studied up on the specific history of Boston, but I could not help but think about this as I was walking around. So when I got back to my hotel room, I used the Census Bureau factfinder mapping site to generate maps of the City of Boston, showing % Black by census tract. This is of course 2000 data, I don’t know what has changed, and did not plot the income distributions. I’ve put a red circle about where the convention hotel site is. As you can see, Black folks are not living all that far from the convention site, but are not very present in this area. I don’t know anything about what is going on locally. Just wondering.
I talked to my spouse between writing this post and figuring out how to post graphics. While I was off working, he took a walk into the medium green (integrated) area on the map (up Columbus Avenue, for any locals reading) and said it seems like an pleasant integrated area with a nice feel. Couples of both races sitting in outdoor cafes. He passed a Black church letting out from services.