Massachusetts Avenue is 16.1 miles long. It is the only street that winds its way through every type of urban and suburban neighborhood in the Boston metropolitan area. From the poor, ethnically and racially diverse neighborhoods of the Dorchester section of Boston, through the gentrifying sections the of South End of Boston, through the most prestigious universities in the world in Cambridge, such as Harvard and MIT, and through wealthy, mostly white suburbs like Lexington, Massachusetts Avenue is a connection and division between these segments of society. This series, a work in progress, documents through portraiture, the people who live and/or work on Massachusetts Avenue. In doing so, we get a sense of the diversity of people that inhabit our spaces and how these varied neighborhoods intersect with each other. Additionally, we are able to experience the divides defined by ethnicity, race, religion, culture and socio-economic status that still exist in our communities.
Massachusetts Avenue is a documentation of a microcosm of not only Boston, but of many urban centers in a country that has been historically open to accepting people of varying ethnic, racial, religious, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. Though there are geographic divisions defined by these distinctions, there are pockets where these differences co-exist. The question remains though, as the cost of living increases and gentrification continues to redefine neighborhoods, will people from varying backgrounds co-exist or will our communities only become more defined by these distinctions?
- Jared Leeds, 2008
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