In the 1930s, a federal agency created maps for cities across America that color-coded neighborhoods based on their perceived risk for mortgage lending. The “riskiest” were colored red, a process now known as redlining. Areas judged the lowest risk were colored green on the maps.
Racism was baked into those judgments. As a result, according to a project cataloguing these maps that was led by the University of Richmond, “Redlining directed both public and private capital to native-born white families and away from African American and immigrant families.”
The impacts of redlining and other government decisions about which neighborhoods deserved investment still affect people today. In Waterloo, Iowa, drone footage shows the chasm between one redlined neighborhood, once the only place in the city where Black residents could live, and one greenlined neighborhood on the other side of town.
Episode 1: A deeper look
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