Episode 176: How Latinos Saved American Cities

Voters across the region –and political spectrum– can agree on one thing: they care about immigration. This week on NEXT, a new poll of New Hampshire voters finds the immigration policies they care about largely don’t affect them. And we hear from a historian who says U.S. cities owe their revitalization to Latino immigrants. Plus, how achieving the triple decker, immigrant dream is fading in New England.

N.H. Voters Have Strong Opinions on Immigration — Even If They’re Not Personally Affected

Regardless of political affiliation, voters in and around Greater Boston and southern New Hampshire agree: they’re paying attention to immigration during the run up to 2020. New poll results from WBUR and the MassINC polling group show likely New Hampshire voters have strong opinions about immigration policy even though it’s had little impact on them personally.

How Latino Immigrants Saved American Cities

From the “Barrio America” book cover.

In the 1950s, U.S. cities started losing population for the first time in history. Urban planners and city officials were not so optimistic about the future. But over the last few decades, cities have been bouncing back in a big way. The “creative class” usually gets the credit for this revitalization; the intellectuals, writers and artists. But Andrew Sandoval-Strausz argues that an influx of Hispanic immigrants had an even greater impact on U.S. cities. He’s a historian, professor at Penn State University and author of the new book “Barrio America: How Latino Immigrants Saved The American City.”

What Happened To The Triple Decker Dream?

Alphonse Mupenzi stands outside his apartment on the East Side of Providence. Mupenzi, a refugee from the Congo, first heard of the triple decker home after moving to Rhode Island. His dream is to someday own a multi-family home. (Alex Nunes / The Public’s Radio)

For generations, the story of the New England triple-decker home was pretty simple. You come to this country as an immigrant, rent one unit of a three decker apartment, save up your money and buy your own triple-decker. Then, when the time is right, you pass on the home and that generational wealth to your kids. But today, the triple decker narrative is a lot more complicated.

This story is part of a three-part series on triple-deckers in the podcast Mosaic from The Public’s Radio.

From Nigeria To A City Council Spot In Maine, Angela Okafor Makes History

Angela Okafor works a hair appointment at her shop in Bangor. (Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public)

Last month, Angela Okafor made history in the city of Bangor, Maine. She’s believed to be the first immigrant and person of color elected to city council there.  In her journey to elected office, Okafor navigated numerous barriers to making a living in Maine. Now she’s helping support other immigrants in an overwhelmingly white area of the state

Also on the show this week:

About NEXT

NEXT is produced at Connecticut Public Radio
Host: Shannon Dooling
Producer: Morgan Springer
Senior Director: Catie Talarski
Contributors to this episode: Alex Nunes, Ana Gonzalez, Robbie Feinberg and Cristela Guerra.
Music: Todd Merrell, “New England” and Crazy by Goodnight Blue Moon, Say Hey” by West End Blend, Love Went To Gamble” by Emily and Jake and I Wanna Know” by Phat Astronaut. 

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