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The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies.

Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

  • American Neighborhoods: Inclusion and Exclusion
  • Volume 16, Number 3
  • Managing Editor: Mark D. Shroder
  • Associate Editor: Michelle P. Matuga

Diversity, Inequality, and Microsegregation: Dynamics of Inclusion and Exclusion in a Racially and Economically Diverse Community

Laura M. Tach
Cornell University


Racial and economic diversity are popular policy and planning goals because they can promote inclusion, offering residents of different races and economic positions access to similar resources and opportunities to interact. Diverse communities may also be sites for deliberate and inadvertent exclusion, however, through interpersonal and organizational conflict, discrimination, and relative deprivation. This article examines the dimensions of inclusion and exclusion in a stable racially and economically diverse urban neighborhood—the South End in Boston, Massachusetts—that includes a mix of races and cultures and million-dollar homes alongside subsidized housing. Drawing on secondary data and indepth interviews with 30 residents and key stakeholders, I describe residents’ perceptions of diversity, daily routines, and use of public neighborhood spaces and show how race- and class-based patterns of inclusion and exclusion emerge from these routines. Despite its diverse array of resources and opportunities, the neighborhood remains socially and organizationally differentiated through patterns of microsegregation—homogenous pockets of interaction and organization within the larger neighborhood.

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