Zipcode (Flawed) Destiny

The Breakdown

  1. Sources (assets)

Scans of HOLC grade maps and area description images

scanned map
scanned map
area description
area description

2. Processes (services)

Georectified map scans using GIS technology and saved into reusable formats such as Shapefile and GeoJSON; area description saved as csv for easy access

Georectified means a raster image (a scanned map) was linked to the actual GIS coordinate system so it can be accurate located, easily accessed)

Georectified polygons of Minneapolis
Georectified polygons of Minneapolis

3. Presentation (display)

An easily searchable website where users can query their state and click around different parts of city to read about their descriptions (as they were composed in 1930s).

Two Answers

What is the goal of the project?

To enlighten people about how the government’s biased methodologies in real estate activation contributed to the ongoing wealth disparity between races.

Which academic fields (i.e history) do you see the project in conversation with?

This project is in conversation with political science, sociology, and social activism.

A New Question

What were the tangible outcomes of these area descriptions? Did local realtors/buyers really refer to this information as something that accurately assessed the status of their neighborhoods? What were the stories of the people of color that supposedly “infiltrated” the neighborhoods? What was the actual story, from their own perspective?


One Comment

  1. I think this is a great example of interpreting data and transforming it into an effective and accessible visualization. I believe this could be used in many other fields.

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