Our Mission & History
The 1929 stock market crash devastated America’s economy and triggered the beginning of a 10-year economic depression. During this time, American families were at risk of losing homes to foreclosure. To tackle the mortgage crises and restart the Great Depression economy, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created federal loan programs to refinance troubled residential homes. The US government established the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) to determine potential refinance investments by assessing housing and neighborhood conditions. HOLC created maps and area descriptions to describe the features and threats to a particular area; neighborhoods were graded based on the racial/ethnic presence, high and low-income families, and environmental problems. Referring to map shading, grading, and area descriptions, financial institutions made decisions on loan sizes, refinancing opportunities, etc. Unbeknownst to HOLC and the federal government, the 1939 surveys would have major effects on American cities, especially during Urban Renewal in the 1950’s. In short, HOLC orchestrated the denial of financial services based on race and ethnic background, better known as redlining. See:
- Newly Released Maps Show How Housing Discrimination Happened (National Geographic, 2016): http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/10/housing-discrimination-redlining-maps/
- The Thick Red Line (Terp Magazine, Fall 2016): http://terp.umd.edu/the-thick-red-line/
- T-RACES portal: http://salt.umd.edu/T-RACES/demo/demo.html
- Mapping Inequality (the project’s current portal): http://mappinginequality.us
Meet the Team
Our team comes from diverse backgrounds and academic fields. To learn more about the project members, please explore our directory of faculty, graduate assistants, and students who are working on Mapping Inequality.