Resources to Pursue More Equitable Housing
The main purpose of this website is to provide factual information and start conversations to confront the injustice and inequality that remains in our Michigan cities today. The history of redlining complicates contemporary housing policy and land-use planning. We hope that the details herein will spur discussions about our history and inform conversations and policymakers as we confront this history. Although redlining practices were made illegal in the Fair Housing Act of 1968, research shows its legacy continues today and yet many do not know the details of redlining or how its legacy continues today.
Given a substantial source of U.S. racial inequities is housing policy, Michigan State University Extension efforts in housing policy education now include the racist history of housing policy due to the currently inseparable interaction of race, housing policy, and housing-related outcomes in the U.S. Absent the racist history and legacy of U.S. housing policy, housing programs would fail to facilitate informed decision-making.
Local stories are important and can be powerful, and there are many additional resources to additional information on redlining. For example, stories from people who grew up on either side of a U.S.-government-required six-foot-high cement wall built to separate Black and White families in Detroit are available in the book Detroit’s Birwood Wall (Van Dusen, 2019). The References tab contains additional books and research articles on the long-term effects of redlining.
Increasing the education on the history of de jure segregation in the United States, however, will not itself end discriminatory practices in housing.
Indeed, after this historical information and qualitative data, Michigan State University Extension housing policy education present specific housing policies that pursue racial equity, as well as case studies of communities currently engaged in the work. For example, the Extension program, “From Exclusive to Inclusive: The Evolving Single-Family Residential Zone,” reviews the exclusive nature of single-family residential zoning districts in Michigan and traces the long history of zoning as a tool of racial exclusion, including historical HOLC redlining maps for Michigan communities overlaid with modern demographic data to illustrate the lingering effects of racist housing policies. As with this website, this program highlights the clear visual connection between historical racist policies the legacy of those policies in their community.
Other Michigan State University Extension resources and related contacts include:
- Homebuyer and homeowner education programs
- Jinnifer P. Ortquist, MS, CFLE, CHRS (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information
- Planning and zoning tools, policy options, land use, and environmental issues
- Tyler Augst, MS (email@example.com) or Harmony Fierke-Gmazel, AICP (firstname.lastname@example.org) for government and community vitality program information
- Brad Neumann, AICP (email@example.com) for advanced/specialized land use information
- Mary Reilly, MS, AICP (firstname.lastname@example.org) for government and public policy program information
Other resources include:
- Michigan Association of Planning’s Equity resources including an equity audit tool from Wayne State University
- Community Credit Profiles: Mortgage Markets
- Housing North’s Michigan State Housing Resources
- Mapping Inequality from the University of Richmond compiles HOLC redlining maps and Area Description Files for communities across the country.
This research was conducted by Michigan State University Extension Specialist Craig Wesley Carpenter, Ph.D. (@DrCWCarpenter or email@example.com).