A Home in the Heart of a City

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9780865475502: A Home in the Heart of a City
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For every city dweller seeking richness and connection in contemporary urban life.

When Kathleen Hirsch first moved to Jamaica Plain, an unassuming neighborhood in Boston, she was looking for a place to belong, to set down roots. Was it possible, she wondered, to find community in a contemporary city? A Home in the Heart of a City is Hirsch's exuberant and hopeful response. We follow her as she meets extraordinary individuals, including the protector of a local park, an urban gardener, and a corporate lawyer turned community advocate. They become her guides, showing that living well in community is as much about the personal choices we make to work, play, and associate in certain ways as it is about the grassroots institutions we build to foster community life.

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The Boston neighborhood of Jamaica Plain--home to the author of this thoughtful meditation on the importance of community in today's urban environment--possesses the characteristics demographers predict will dominate the American urban landscape by 2025: 41 percent of its inhabitants are college graduates and work as carpenters, plumbers, teachers, artists, drug dealers, police officers, etc. The neighborhood has one symphony orchestra, two community theaters, three libraries, one arts center, six art galleries, 18 playgrounds, 19 churches, and two bowling lanes. Fifty percent of its residents are white, 33 percent Latino, 17 percent African American; 31 percent of the neighborhood's inhabitants fall below the poverty line. And it is in this incredibly diverse, wonderfully offbeat quarter that Kathleen Hirsch has found a place to belong.

Hirsch moved to Jamaica Plain, or "J.P." as its residents call it, in the summer of 1990. It is, according to the author, "a snob's no-man's-land, a Boston neighborhood down at the heels for so long that only its loyalists can quite see its quirky charms." Hirsch becomes one such loyalist, as she introduces the members of the community that help to make J.P. so special, from the urban gardener to the local storeowners to the lawyer turned community advocate. In an age when people feel more isolated than ever, this eloquently rendered personal journey through a city neighborhood demonstrates that community is neither as inaccessible as utopia nor a convention of yesteryear, but a real possibility for the present and the future. --Kera Bolonik

About the Author:

Kathleen Hirsch is the author of Songs from the Alley and co-editor of Mothers (NPP, 1996). She lives in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.

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9780374280796: A Home in the Heart of a City: A Woman's Search for Community

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ISBN 10:  0374280797 ISBN 13:  9780374280796
Publisher: North Point Pr, 1998
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