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Real Estate

A direct connection between racist housing policy in the 1930s and how hot your neighborhood is

The NY Times “How Decades of Racist Housing Policy Left Neighborhoods Sweltering is a look how the practice of red lining in the 1930s has a had a lasting impact on the environment of neighborhoods in Richmond:

“Across more than 100 cities, a recent study found, formerly redlined neighborhoods are today 5 degrees hotter in summer, on average, than areas once favored for housing loans, with some cities seeing differences as large as 12 degrees. Redlined neighborhoods, which remain lower-income and more likely to have Black or Hispanic residents, consistently have far fewer trees and parks that help cool the air. They also have more paved surfaces, such as asphalt lots or nearby highways, that absorb and radiate heat.”

Residential Security Map of Richmond from the 1930s (8/27/2009)
Babies within 5 miles of downtown RVA face 20-year difference in life expectancy (4/29/2015)
Mapping Inequality shows relation between racism and the built environment (10/31/2016)
Richmond’s urban heat islands (7/27/2020)

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24 days ago

Let me preface this by saying redlining was undeniably wrong, and I am not defending it. However, this seems to be as much a function of building density as redlining. Older neighborhoods (especially those built before widespread automobile ownership) tend to be more tightly packed. Likewise, lower income and minority communities in the United States tend to be concentrated in older neighborhoods (at least, historically). In the article, there is a photo of a home in a greener/cooler/wealthier/majority white/etc. Richmond neighborhood. There are at least 3 times as many mature shade trees visible in that photo, on that one single… Read more »

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