Map Divvying Up Cleveland Resembles Redlining Maps of the Past

Cleveland neighborhoods were coded to help real estate investors, but the result is a map that harks back to old discriminatory housing practices, say critics.

November 16, 2018, 2:00 PM PST

By Camille Fink


Cleveland Vacant Home

edkohler / Flickr

Brentin Mock reports on recent controversy over a 2015 blog post about a map of Cleveland that looks much like redlining maps from the last century. The map, produced by a local real estate developer, graded the city’s neighborhoods, ostensibly to provide investors with a guide to where they might get the best return on investments.

But, says Mock, the grades highlight race and class segregation throughout the city:

The red “F” category is called the “Warzone” in [James] Wise’s blog, and consists of the African-American East Cleveland neighborhood and several zip codes that have majority black populations, and most of which have incomes below $22,000. The D category, also red, consists of just three neighborhoods, each of which have sizable black and Latino populations, all located in the city and with majority renter populations. 

The Home Owners Loan Corporation redlining maps of the 1930s divided the city based on similar metrics, and designations of “neighborhood desirability” drove investment and home loan decisions. “Desirability was defined by the neighborhood’s household incomes, the percentage of homeowners, and by 'homogeneity'—whether white people made up the majority of the neighborhood,” reports Mock.

Some housing advocates wonder if the more recent map could actually help residents in lower-income neighborhoods over the long run. Investors looking to flip properties and make a quick buck might be motivated to steer clear of Cleveland’s most vulnerable neighborhoods, says Mock.

Friday, November 9, 2018 in CityLab

Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

Twin Cities

Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think

Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.

May 13, 2022 - Reason

Single-Family Housing Construction

New White House Housing Initiative Includes Zoning Reform Incentives

The Biden administration this morning released a new program of actions intended to spur housing construction around the United States.

May 16, 2022 - The White House

Complete Street Vancouver

Study: Most of Vancouver Is a ‘15-Minute City’

A large majority of Vancouver residents can access a grocery store in 15 minutes or less by bicycle or on foot.

May 20 - Vancouver Sun

Montreal, Quebec

Urban Design, Transport, and Health

The Lancet medical journal published a series of articles that explore how to evaluate and guide urban planning decisions to create healthy and sustainable cities. Live long and prosper!

May 20 - The Lancet - Urban Design, Transport, and Health

MoGo Bikeshare Bikes

Detroit Bike Share Celebrates Five Years

In its five years of operation, Detroit’s MoGo bikeshare has added electric and adaptive bikes to its fleet of more than 600 bikes.

May 20 - MoGo

HUD’s 2022 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Expanding HUD’s Eviction Protection Grant Program

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.