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Mapping Transformation: How Changing Neighborhood Identities Affect Civic Life

Partially supported by a NULab Seedling Grant.

Mapping Transformation is an ongoing journalism research project conducted by graduate students in Northeastern University’s School of Journalism. The project aims to map the Boston landmarks that have undergone, or are currently undergoing, a name change or rebranding because of their namesakes’ ties to slavery or other racist behavior, and to reflect the current demographics and values of the people who live there. The project uses on-the-ground reporting, research, and interviews with experts and residents to examine the way name changes affect identity and civic life in these communities.

The project’s flagship publication is The Scope, an experimental digital magazine focused on reporting stories of justice, hope, and resilience in Greater Boston. It is editorially independent and operated by Northeastern University’s School of Journalism. The Scope practices journalism as an act of service, working to connect communities, inform civic life, and amplify voices that are often overlooked or mischaracterized by traditional media. The Scope embraces a variety of techniques including solutions journalism, restorative narratives, and “less-extractive” reporting in an ongoing effort to redefine the relationship between journalists and the communities they cover.

See the project site here.

Related work from The Scope:

Erb, Jordan. “Will Dudley Square Become Nubian Square?” The Scope, 26 Sep. 2019.

Erb, Jordan. “Boston prepares for Dudley Square ballot question” The Scope, 5 Nov. 2019.

Erb, Jordan. “Boston voters reject renaming of Dudley Square” The Scope, 13 Nov. 2019.

Principal Investigators

Eileen O’Grady, Jordan Erb, and Ruth Hunger, Graduate Students, Journalism; Szu Yu Chen, Design; Meg Heckman, Faculty Advisor

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