The New York Times has an extraordinary article—building on some earlier research from Yale Environment 360—that illustrates with frightening detail how racism, urban planning, and climate change go hand-in-hand. Using the city of Richmond as a microcosm, authors Brad Plumer and Nadja Popovich explore the city’s history through the lens of several individual lives who are impacted by these “urban heat islands” on a daily basis.
In the 1930s, the federal government created maps of hundreds of cities, rating the riskiness of separate neighborhoods for real estate investment by grading them “best,” “still desirable,” “declining” or “hazardous.” Race played a defining role: Black and immigrant neighborhoods were typically rated “hazardous” and outlined in red, denoting a perilous place to lend money. For decades, people in redlined areas were denied access to federally backed mortgages and other credit, fueling a cycle of disinvestment.
In 2016, these old redlining maps were digitized ……
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