Black Americans have moved on from formerly redlined neighborhoods, and other minorities and whites have moved in. The wave of presidential campaigns that have based housing policy proposals on redlining maps might be misguided as a result.
Andre M. Perry and David Harshbarger share the findings of new research suggesting that by focusing on redlining maps, housing policy reforms might not deliver benefits to the intended population.
The context for the research is set by the presidential campaign platforms of several Democratic hopefuls for the job:
Over the last few months, several Democratic presidential hopefuls—namely Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), and South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg—have released housing proposals that utilize a curious vector to implement their respective remedies for historical discrimination: redlining maps.
Redlining was the practice of outlining areas with sizable Black populations in red ink on maps as a warning to mortgage lenders, effectively isolating Black people in areas that would suffer lower levels of investment than their white counterparts. The Democratic candidates hope that the contours of these old maps—once used by the government-sponsored Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) from 1933 to 1977—offer the blueprint for closing the racial homeownership gap and increasing prosperity among largely Black and Brown Americans who were robbed of wealth for generations under redlining’s legal discriminatory policy.
So what's the problem with the idea of focusing relief in the places where the most damage was done by racist and discriminatory regulatory history? In 2019, Black populations do not make up most of the residents in formerly redlined neighborhoods.
The University of Richmond’s Mapping Inequality project has digitized scans of the HOLC redlining maps held in the National Archives. Examination of the maps, numbering over 200, reveals that approximately 11 million Americans (10,852,727) live in once-redlined areas, according to the latest population data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (2017). This population is majority-minority but not majority-Black, and, contrary to conventional perceptions, Black residents also do not form a plurality in these areas overall. The Black population share is approximately 28%, ranking third among the racial groups who live in formerly redlined areas, behind white and Latino or Hispanic residents.
The article shares a lot more data and insights about the variations between formerly redline neighborhoods, the changes in demographics in those areas, and more reasons to question the HOLC's redlining maps as a useful proxy for black neighborhoods when setting progressive housing policy.
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.
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.
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.
Proposed Transit Line Would Connect Downtown Tucson to Airport
Based on community input for a 15-mile transit line, residents want to see a focus on affordable housing development and anti-displacement measures.
Strip Malls as a Housing Solution
The American strip mall may be a dying breed of commercial development, but could the buildings serve a new use as sustainable housing?
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.
City of Redwood City
City of Rohnert Park
City of Hot Springs
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.