Thank you, National Geographic!

The University of Maryland’s DCIC has some extremely exciting news to share! National Geographic published an article about Mapping Inequality titled, “Newly Released Maps Show How Housing Discrimination Happened.” Greg Miller did an exceptional job in articulating not only the lasting effects these maps have on the housing industry, but also the grim history behind it all.

For readers who are not familiar with this project, Mapping Inequality is a multi-institutional research project that explores the long-term effects of redlining in New Deal America. The 1929 stock market crashed in triggered a devastating economic depression, which resulted in families losing their homes to foreclosure. The Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) was born out of federal funding to assess the housing and neighborhood conditions so banks knew where (and where not) to give out loans. These findings were translated into maps with green, blue, yellow, and red outlines, with each color representing the “good” and “bad” areas for housing.

Here’s an example:


The institutions involved in this research have been working diligently for four years to digitize the documents and maps, extract the information, and make the data accessible to the public through the creation of a usable database. Researchers are coming extremely close to finishing up data transcription, and pretty soon we will have all of the data up on a database. Take a peek at the Mapping Inequality website here.

We want to say a HUGE thank you to National Geographic for helping the University of Maryland, Virginia Tech, Johns Hopkins, and University of Richmond tell this story. We hope that this project continues to gain momentum!