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Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life

Somerville

Until after the Revolutionary War, Somerville was a section of Charlestown often known as “beyond the neck,” referring to the narrow stretch of land between the Mystic and Charles Rivers that joined the two areas at that time. By the time Somerville became a city in 1872, early waves of immigrants from Canada, Ireland, and Great Britain had shaped the city. Indeed, throughout the centuries Somerville has seen many waves of immigrants, and by 1930 it was the most densely populated city in the United States. Later, after the 1960s, new arrivals coming from Haiti, Vietnam, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, China, Colombia, Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua further changed the city’s profile.

Half of Tufts University’s main campus is located in Somerville. With a wealth of ethnic diversity, more than 50 different languages are spoken on the streets of Somerville, resulting in vibrant business centers and lively residential communities. The evolving demographics that have created this engaging mix of cultures have also raised new challenges, especially for traditional providers of health care, education, and social services. Thus, Somerville presents valuable opportunities for Tufts students and faculty to learn about existing assets and resources and to work collaboratively with community members to develop solutions.

Learn more about some of our strongest partners in Somerville: