Home Owners' Loan Corporation security maps
These Great Depression-era home loan security maps were drawn in 1939 and 1940 by the Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC) and its local consultants. They were used only in those decades but they have current effects. Like the maps drawn in the rest of the country, were color coded to indicate lending risk based on housing characteristics as well as racial and nationality characteristics.
These maps are popularly known today as "redlining maps" because of the red lines that delineated areas that one federal government agency considered a dangerous place to issue mortgages and had low prospects for loan repayment.
They are maps of inequality, as well, because the lowest graded places were also where a plurality of Blacks lived; national and local policies made it harder for black families to obtain loans even before redlining began.
The maps were digitized by a project called "Mapping Inequality" by dozens of professors and students at four universities, led by the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab.
The GIS data is shared by DSL with a Creative Commons license.