Mapping the Tools of Discrimination

The Innovations in Government Program at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation has announced the first winner of the "Map of the Month" contest.

June 21, 2017, 6:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Eric Bosco announces the winner of Harvard University's first "Map of the Month" contest. The winning map, called "Redlining Louisville: The History of Race, Class, and Real Estate," was created by the Louisville Office of Redevelopment Strategies to coordinate with a year-long series of public events "to promote community dialogue on the issue of redlining," reports Bosco. (Redlining, as defined by Bosco, is "the denial of services or the refusal to grant loans or insurance to certain neighborhoods based on racial and socioeconomic discrimination.")

According to the history revealed by the map, redlining came to Louisville 80 years ago, and the problem persists to this day, with what Jeana Dunlap, director of redevelopment strategies in Louisville, calls "digital redlining tendencies," with access to broadband internet, health and medical services, and grocery stores.

"The map combines a variety of datasets — vacant properties, building permits, and property values — and includes the original 1937 HOLC Louisville residential security assessment map indicating neighborhood desirability for investment that illustrates the historic redlining. Users can compare HOLC data with current census tract data by property values, race, vacant properties, and home ownership locations," writes Bosco.

The Map of the Month contest recognizes the best data visualizations created by all levels of government and nonprofits, according to Bosco.

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