The Legacy of Redlining - Resources
New Video: The Legacy of Redlining
How is a policy that began in the 1930s still felt in American cities? Check out our new video on the long and damaging history of redlining, and its connection to gentrification today.
Redlining was a process in which the Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC), a federal agency, gave neighborhoods ratings to guide investment. This policy is so named for the red or “hazardous” neighborhoods that were deemed riskiest. These neighborhoods were predominantly home to communities of color, and this is no accident; the “hazardous” rating was in large part based on racial demographics. In other words, redlining was an explicitly discriminatory policy. Redlining made it hard for residents to get loans for homeownership or maintenance, and led to cycles of disinvestment.
This history is not behind us: 87% of San Francisco’s redlined neighborhoods are low-income neighborhoods undergoing gentrification today.
Watch the video to see this connection for yourself, and learn more about the lasting impacts of this discriminatory policy. The past is embedded in the present-day experience of our neighborhoods and cities; it is important to the future of cities that we confront this history.
The Legacy of Redlining Across the Bay Area -- San Francisco, East Bay, San Jose GIFs
The video above explores the overlap between redlining, gentrification, and exclusion in San Francisco, but these trends are common across the Bay Area. Take a look at the GIFs below for quick overviews of the connections between redlining, gentrification, and exclusion in San Francisco, the East Bay, and San Jose.
San Francisco - redlining and gentrification:
87% of today's gentrifying areas in San Francisco were rated as "hazardous" (red) or "definitely declining" (yellow) by HOLC.
San Francisco - redlining and exclusion:
45% of today's exclusionary areas in San Francisco were rated as "best" (green) or "still desirable" (blue) by HOLC.
East Bay - redlining and gentrification:
83% of today's gentrifying areas in the East Bay were rated as "hazardous" (red) or "definitely declining" (yellow) by HOLC.
East Bay - redlining and exclusion:
75% of today's exclusionary areas in the East Bay were rated as "best" (green) or "still desirable" (blue) by HOLC.
San Jose - redlining and gentrification:
87% of today's gentrifying areas in San Jose were rated as "hazardous" (red) or "definitely declining" (yellow) by HOLC.
San Jose - redlining and exclusion:
59% of today's exclusionary areas in San Jose were rated as "best" (green) or "still desirable" (blue) by HOLC.
Learn more about redlining, in your community and beyond:
Want to know how your neighborhood was rated by HOLC? Check out the University of Richmond's "Mapping Inequality" Project for interactive redlining maps.
Want to understand the connection between redlining maps and other data in your community?
- The dataset from University of Richmond’s digitized maps is now on PolicyMap so that users can overlay this polygon data with a number of other layers to explore trends in residential and economic segregation, along with a host of other areas.
- Recent research from NCRC, “HOLC ‘Redlining’ Maps: The persistent structure of segregation and economic inequality,” looks at persistent impacts of redlining in cities across the US -- on economic and racial segregation, inequality, and gentrification, as well as exploring regional differences.
- New maps from Wenfei Xu allow the viewer to compare different neighborhood categorizations from the redlining maps to historical US Census data, in order to better understand impacts on socioeconomic disparities and segregation.
NPR’s recent explainer video, “Why Are Cities Still So Segregated?” teases out the connections between redlining and the landscapes of opportunity in our cities -- in schools, health, wealth, policing, and more.
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