The Legacy of Redlining in Madison, Wisconsin
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Redlining can be described as the process of color-coding a map to determine which neighborhoods should receive financial investments - including home loans - and which ones should not. This was encouraged by the U.S. government and carried out by the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation during the Great Depression as an effort to make more economical investments. Much has been written about the long-term effects of this practice, namely, segregation and racial inequality. Milwaukee, Wisconsin is an infamous example of redlining and segregation, yet little attention has been given to the state’s capital. A city known for its progressive values, Madison is one of 239 U.S. cities that was red-lined by the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation. In this paper, we will demonstrate how redlining has impacted the city of Madison after more than 80 years. We will explicate how redlining worked, introduce a qualitative background of race relations in Madison, and perform a spatial analysis of modern loan data to develop our argument.