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A New South End, Again

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Date and time
Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Does gentrification destroy diversity? Or does it thrive on it? Boston’s South End, a legendary working-class neighborhood with the largest Victorian brick row house district in the United States and a celebrated reputation for diversity, has become in recent years a flashpoint for the problems of gentrification. It has born witness to the kind of rapid transformation leading to pitched battles over the class and race politics throughout the country. Sociologist and feminist activist Sylvie Tissot's study reveals the way that upper-middle-class newcomers have positioned themselves as champions of diversity, and looks at how their mobilization around this key concept has reordered class divisions rather than abolished them. She explores these ideas with Boston historian Jim Vrabel. Image: "South End, sign protesting urban renewal" [City of Boston Archives](https://www.flickr.com/photos/cityofbostonarchives/ "")

Sylvie Tissot is a French sociologist and feminist activist. She teaches political science at the Université de Vincennes-Saint Denis-Paris VIII. Her research focuses on urban transformations in French and American cities. She co-founded the popular website Les Mots sont Importants with Pierre Tévanian.
Jim Vrabel is a former newspaper reporter and municipal official, a longtime community activist, and a Boston historian. He was a founder of the Back of the Hill Community Development Corporation on Mission Hill and of the Academy of the Pacific Rim Charter School in Hyde Park, and he served as assistant director of the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services, executive assistant to the Boston School Committee, and senior research associate and editor at the Boston Redevelopment Authority.