By Conor White
Redlining was the process in which banks would segregate neighborhoods by loan policy. It was a policy that began in the 1930’s and is still felt in American cities today as its legacy has led to the gentrification of neighborhoods in modern-day urban America. The process of redlining involved the federal agency, the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) giving neighborhoods ratings to guide investment. The neighborhoods that were predominantly home to communities of color were deemed to be the riskiest and were therefore given a ‘hazardous’ rating. Redlining made it difficult for residents in high-risk zones to get loans for homeownership or maintenance and led to cycles of disinvestment.
The legacy of redlining remains in place to this very day. Eighty-seven percent of San Francisco’s redlined neighborhoods are low-income neighborhoods undergoing gentrification today. They were rated as ‘hazardous’ (red) or ‘definitely declining’ (yellow) by the HOLC. There are similar trends right across the San Francisco Bay Area in cities such as Oakland and San Jose. This map by the Urban Displacement Project shows the overlap of today’s gentrifying low-income neighborhoods with the same neighborhoods that were redlined and denied investment and homeownership in the 1930’s. Whereas, areas that today exclude low-income households by means of insufficient affordable housing or rental buildings are areas that were classified as desirable in the 1930’s.
For more information, visit: www.urbandisplacement.org