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Old 09-28-2009, 01:55 PM
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My position will be moving to the Dedham/Norwood area and I'm considering the transfer from Florida. Any suggestions on diverse places to live near this area?
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Old 09-29-2009, 01:11 AM
Location: Cambridge, MA
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Norwood and Dedham are both the kinds of towns where "diversity" is defined as being Jewish This is less true in Norwood, but in either case the communities are monotonously monochromatic.

The nearest southern suburb which has any significant AA presence, yet maintains stability and "niceness," is Milton. Subjective (and ubiquitous) though they may be, a poll - this one in "Money" magazine - ranked Milton as the 7th-nicest place of its kind in the country. Its public schools are highly rated (subjective as those kinds of ratings also are), and Milton Academy is there. "Affordable" neighborhoods can be found in the area surrounding Route 138, and around East Milton Square near I-93. That's where some duplexes and small apartment houses are tucked in among the aging Colonials and "contemporary" homes from the 1960's and earlier. Other areas definitely trend toward the upscale end of the spectrum, such as the "estate" enclave near the academy where the governor lives.

Quincy, infamous until not too long ago for its citizens' zero-tolerance policy toward anyone not Irish or passing for Irish, has become a welcoming melting-pot sort of city seemingly overnight. A wave of Southeast Asian immigrants moving "up and out" from Dorchester during the '80s brought tension and conflict to the northern part of town. But as is always the case with such things, eventually the incumbent residents who were unhappy with the newcomers either got out of there or learned to put up or shut up. Now you can walk through areas such as the Wollaston shopping district along Hancock St and spot lots of bilingual signs, along with businesses catering more toward Chinese or Vietnamese clientele which peacefully coexist with Irish pubs and the like. The new and improved atmosphere has also started to attract Black middle-class homebuyers, who are not run off the property but are accepted without incident. While there are no "estates" in Quincy, there's an appealing mix of housing styles ranging from waterfront high-rise condo to duplex and single-family Colonials from the '20s to '40s. The public school system is "average," where kids get out what they put in. And you can't beat Quincy for convenience, with its being situated on I-93 where the 128 loop begins and having MBTA and commuter-rail service into Boston.

Stability and "niceness" despite (or due to) a "mixed" population was a trademark of Randolph for a long time. There are some sections there which have houses that date back before WWII, but overall the town is your prototypical boomer suburb that experienced tremendous growth in the '50s and '60s. Sprawling apartment/condo complexes built 30-45 years ago dot the landscape out towards Route 24, while shaded and quiet subdivisions of Capes and split-levels are the rule elsewhere. The principal commercial district, along Main St close by the middle/high school, buzzes with activity. Businesses reflect the residents' composition: a Haitian-operated clothing store here, an Italian-run diner there. However, at least to hear some tell it, all's not well in Randolph. Its once considerable Jewish community is aging, dying, and moving out. In my experience, a lot of people talk about how nice it'd be to live in an "integrated" atmosphere but Black folks walk the talk a good deal more than others. This theory is borne out by how North Randolph is rapidly transitioning into "Mattapan South," an area where few households not made up of AA or West Indian families exist despite Whites' "happy talk." In the mid-ranked public schools, the Caucasian-or-Jewish/"minority" ratio is nearing 50/50. Petty urban beefs involving kids newly relocated to town have sparked a few violent incidents which have been blown out of proportion to feed the fears of longtime residents. Teenagers, loud and energetic by nature, present an ominous image to sheltered townies when they're dark-skinned and their cranked music is filled with violent and "nasty" lyrics. So the jury's out on whether Randolph can hold onto its rainbow-tribe reputation or whether escalating nervousness will send more Asians and Whites fleeing.

Much the same is true of nearby Brockton, where continual budget cuts have closed the greenhouse and planetarium (!) at its onetime showplace high school. It's still rotting at the core due to suburban flight and unremitting street crime. But the northern and eastern fringes of town are still pleasant and diverse enclaves, along with the section west of Route 24. Folks in Brockton are salt-of-the-earth as a rule, unconditionally accepting of an individual until that individual proves themselves not worthy. If not for a few "minor details" such as gang problems and deteriorating schools, it'd be a great place to bring up a child in.

To the north of Dedham lie the Boston neighborhoods of Hyde Park and West Roxbury, both historically Irish-American (with a strong Italian presence in the case of HP.) These communities - as are the ones I've outlined above - are discussed more in depth in other C-D threads. West Roxbury is Beantown's most "suburban" enclave with its tranquil streets full of spacious Colonial houses and a two-family here and there. One of the main drags, Centre St, is starting to get a semblance of night life. A "minority" face is still a rare sight thereabouts, but rampant hostility is no longer the rule. HP is considerably more "mixed," both in housing possibilities and in ethnic makeup.

More info upon request!
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Old 12-06-2010, 12:34 AM
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If you want truly "diverse", then Randolph(1/3 black, 15,asain,10 Hispanic),Brockton or Quincy would really only be options. Although a lot of Randolph and Brockton wouldn't necessarily be considered desirable.

You could try Canton(quickly growing diversity), Milton( diversity along Boston border) or Stoughton( diversity spread from Brockton)

Brockton and Stoughton both have lingual diversity with many Portuguese speakers.

Canton is getting more and more diverse every year due to its proximity to Boston,good schools and affordable housing options. Also sizable jewish population.
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Old 03-03-2011, 07:21 PM
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Hi Goyguy, your info was a great help, but it's a few years old and I would like to know if your advise still stands the same. I'm relocating from baltimore to MA and I really would like a diverse area to raise my children. Where we are now although it is the city is very diverse. With a wide rage of home pricings. I've been looking at Quincy,Milton, Dedham closely until I read your post and a few others. Prior to this I was looking in the Billarica, Chelsmford, Heaverville, Marlborough areas but the ride is 45min from hubbies work and an 1 hour from mine soon to be work.

We've had suggestions of:

Hyde Park
Watertown work
Waltham work
Everett work
Malden work

Any help is great!

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Old 03-04-2011, 01:10 AM
18 posts, read 45,673 times
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Norwood and Dedham are both the kinds of towns where "diversity" is defined as being Jewish This is less true in Norwood, but in either case the communities are monotonously monochromatic.

Uh, no. Where is the Jewish population in either town? Most left looooong ago.
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Old 03-06-2011, 02:00 PM
837 posts, read 1,225,755 times
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Originally Posted by jjsmom View Post
Norwood and Dedham are both the kinds of towns where "diversity" is defined as being Jewish This is less true in Norwood, but in either case the communities are monotonously monochromatic.

Uh, no. Where is the Jewish population in either town? Most left looooong ago.
Add Canton to that list too -- there's still a Jewish population, but nowhere near the numbers as there were, say, 20 or so years ago.

For diversity, I'd pick Randolph or Quincy. I'm more partial to the latter. I wouldn't describe Randolph as horrible, but there are sections of it which people tend to think are questionable. The school system was in a shambles a couple of years ago -- don't know if it's cleared up now.

Brockton also certainly has diversity, but again, there are sections of it much nicer than others.

Milton is a bit more integrated now than it's ever been -- there's spillover from Quincy on the East Milton side as well as spillover from Boston on the Mattapan/Dorchester side. However, there is still a very staunch Irish-Catholic presence in the town. The same can be said for many of its neighbors, including Dedham and Norwood.
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Old 03-06-2011, 06:25 PM
Location: Newton, Mass.
2,954 posts, read 12,304,632 times
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I thought compared to 15 or 20 years ago there were more AA and Latino residents in Dedham today. Maybe 10%?
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