Commencing with the Lappas family's migration to Boston and keeping it as a main reference, this research recounts the living conditions of immigrants in America in the beginning of the 20th century, and concerns itself with the cities they settled in, the communities they created, and the buildings intended for them. Beginning in the mid-19th century and reaching the mid-20th century, reference is made to this broad period of time when immigration affected America to the fullest extent. This research explores the elements of this phenomenon and the extent to which they shaped both the lives of immigrants and the image of each area of interest. It attempts to present the life of immigrants at a time when, although different from today, many key issues were the same. At the same time, through photographic material, it attempts to illustrate and emphasize both the conditions and the climate they would confront and endure.
On a first level, it introduces the process of entering the country and the challenges the immigrants faced on a daily basis, both on an individual level, for example, employment, education and their interaction with others, and collectively as members of the communities established over the years. Furthermore, it presents the typologies of the tenements: degraded buildings with weathered and unwanted spaces, that were allocated for the housing of immigrants, exposing them to poor living conditions. Finally, an area in the city of Boston is chosen as a case study; a region so deeply marked by the establishment and cohabitation of a variety of foreign nationalities, coupled with the densely built tenements that shaped its image, that it was targeted as a slum and a “waste” of the rest of the city.
This research has led to a greater understanding of the situation in which my family members found themselves in the USA, and was the incentive for further reflection on the attitude towards immigration at that time, and the one we witness today.