NRDC: Cities need to look back in order to move forward

NRDC, May 23, 2018: Cities need to look back in order to move forward

The systemic structure of segregation and economic inequality may be older than we thought. A new study by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) finds the same neighborhoods that were labeled “hazardous zones” and “redlined” by the government-sponsored Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) in the 1930s are the ones most persistently suffering today from inequality and lack of investment. A comparison of the redlined areas on the map to today shows “a pervasive, enduring structure of economic disadvantage in urban areas of the U.S.,” the study concludes.

These zones were created as part of a post-Depression era effort to give banks and other lenders information for offering loans but they relied at least in part on racial data, deeming predominantly African-American neighborhoods risky investments. The result was that the federal government literally encouraged the withholding of credit from older urban neighborhoods, immigrant communities and neighborhoods of people of color.

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