“Undesign the Redline,” an interactive exhibit exploring the racist housing policy of redlining and its continuing effects on the black community, opened last week at the Alberta and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design (1725 Baronne Street) at the Tulane School of Architecture.
“‘Undesign the Redline’ is a powerful way to engage with history, to examine how racist policies from decades ago still impact our communities today and to inspire action toward creating communities of equal opportunity that promote health, resilience, and well-being for all,” stated Enterprise vice president and Gulf Coast director aid Michelle Whetten in a press release. Enterprise created the exhibit in partnership with Designing the WE.
Redlining is a term coined by sociologist John McKnight in the 1960s to describe the methods by which white lenders and businesses prevented people of color from buying real estate. Banks denied loans and businesses denied service to residents living in redlined, historically black neighborhoods.
Though redlining was technically outlawed in 1968 with the passage of the Fair Housing Act, it continues today in many black and Latino neighborhoods. It is also one reason why these communities face systemic poverty. According to a new study by the National Community Reinvestment Committee, 75 percent of neighborhoods that were redlined in the 1930s are comprised of low-income people of color today.
The interactive “Undesign the Redline” exhibit examines redlining’s effect on New Orleans. Its timelines, maps, and placards emphasize past and present events ranging from housing segregation to Hurricane Katrina and the federal levee failures, which resulted in the displacement of many black New Orleanians. New York, Cleveland, Denver, and Columbia, Maryland also host “Undesign the Redline” exhibits.
The exhibit is open through February from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at the Alberta and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design (1725 Baronne Street). It will be closed December 24 through January 1.