11 Alive, February 20, 2020: What is redlining, and how did it happen in Atlanta?
One of the most-discussed moments of the Las Vegas Democratic debate was when Sen. Elizabeth Warren critiqued former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg over his past comments on redlining.
In the debate, he was asked to address those comments, and he said it was “well on the record” that he’s against it.
“Redlining is still a practice in some places, we’ve got to cut it out,” Bloomberg said.
So just what is redlining, and how did it affect Atlanta?
“Neighborhoods considered high risk or ‘hazardous’ were often ‘redlined’ by lending institutions, denying them access to capital investment which could improve the housing and economic opportunity of residents,” is how the National Community Reinvestment Coalition describes the effects of redlining.
The University of Richmond in Virginia maintains a database of HOLC maps, and you can see Atlanta’s map on the school’s “Mapping Inequality” website.
Those maps listed the percentage of Black residents in each neighborhood. In all of the neighborhoods classified as “best” or “still desirable,” the population was 0%.
In the third classification, “definitely declining,” all but two tracts were 0%. The two that weren’t, were 5% and 1%.
And of the 32 classified as “hazardous,” 19 were composed of at least 10% black residents.