Monday, January 7, 2008

This is who we are: the wide shot.

According to, these are the people who live in Roxbury:

"1. Foreign-born Urbanites - Foreign-born individuals who live in city.
2. Immigrant Blues - Low-income, foreign-language-speaking urbanites.
3. College Life - Students in higher education. These individuals are enrolled in college or graduate school."

And this is why they’re unique:

"• They tend to have high rent compared to income.
• There's a larger concentration of wealthy retirees.
• They walk to work."

A similar search on the site for Jamaica Plain, an adjacent neighborhood yielded these results for type and uniqueness:

"1. Non-native Newbies - Foreign-born individuals who just moved to U.S.
2. Power Singles - High-income urban singles.
3. Immigrant Blues - Low-income, foreign-language-speaking urbanites."

Boston residents are unique because:

"• A larger number have earned bachelor's degrees.
• They get to work by bus.
• They tend to have high rent compared to income."

Zillow curiously listed JP as Boston when it, like Roxbury, is a neighborhood of Boston.

The College Life category can undoubtedly be attributed to the student population of the Mission Hill section of Roxbury. There aren’t many college kids in Fort Hill although that seems to be shifting slightly. And unfortunately. This is a neighborhood in transition and neighborhood transition in Boston tends towards transitioning the working people who have lived in the neighborhood elsewhere as developments and rents go up. Gentrification is the cleaner word for it.
Back to zillow: Why Immigrant Blues? Isn’t it an adventurous and even joyful, if difficult, thing to be an immigrant because you’re escaping whatever it is you’ve fled and you’ve got a whole new life in front of you? And if that characterization is slightly too Pollyanna-ish, Immigrant Blues has unclear negative connotations but it’s a good guess that the blues is related to being low-income. Or maybe zillow subscribes to the idea that poor and happy couldn't possibly go together.
No one who lives here can dispute that Boston residents are unique because of their high rent to income ratio but do we get carbon credits for all that walking and riding the bus to work?

Zillow derived their categories this way:
For who lives here
"About These Groups
The information in this section was derived from analysis of data (such as age, occupation, and income) from the 2000 U.S. Census. Using segmentation methods, our analysts created groupings based on the demographic and socioeconomic composition of each city and neighborhood."
And for what distinguishes them from surrounding areas:
"Based on census data, a larger number of this area's residents have these characteristics when compared to the people in surrounding areas. In other words, the characteristics listed in this section are what make the people who live here unique."

A great site for perusing real estate listings anywhere in the country (if anyone has the fortitude to do that these days) , zillow offers a slightly antiseptic view of Roxbury but that, too, has its merit.

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