The pink on the map shows areas that were rated least desirable among lenders. | Courtesy of Louisville Forward

Louisville Forward, the city’s economic development arm, on Tuesday unveiled an interactive map that explores how redlining in the past continues to impact Louisville neighborhoods today.

The map was created as part of an effort to draw attention to present-day redlining tactics as well as the negative effects of past redlining. Redlining, which dates back to 1933, is a form of discrimination in which lending agencies deny financial services to people living in certain neighborhoods or businesses charge higher rates for services.

The pink portions of the 1938 map, above, are labeled “fourth grade” and represent areas in which lenders were “discouraged, hesitant, reluctant to lend,” said Jeana Dunlap, director of the Office of Redevelopment Strategies.

The interactive map, created by urban planner Joshua Poe, looks at the 1938 redlining map and shows a correlation between it and high rates of poverty and mortgage denials and low property values.

“Think about where you live or areas you are familiar with and how these comparisons play out,” Dunlap said, adding that eventually the city also hopes to look at the correlation between redlining and public health and safety.

Some areas that were rated fourth grade in 1938 are doing well, such as Germantown, NuLu and Clifton/Irish Hill neighborhoods. Why are those neighborhoods doing better than others, she said, “I think we really have to do a deeper dive.”

That is the goal of community meetings the city plans to hold during the next few months, Dunlap said, to find out ways that people are being impacted by redlining and get feedback on how the city can help. The city also is seeking ambassadors to talk to residents in their community about redlining, which Dunlap noted can be a sensitive subject for some.

Cathy Hinko, executive director of the Metropolitan Housing Coalition, said that people don’t need to place blame on others or institutions but rather need to figure out how to roll back the effects of redlining.

“We don’t need to point fingers and say bad things. We just need to get past it.”

The meeting time and dates are as follows:

  • Feb. 23, 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Louisville Urban League, 1535 W. Broadway
  • March 28, 5:30 to 7 p.m. at New Directions Housing Corp., 1000 E. Liberty St.
  • April 26, 5:30 to 7 p.m. at YouthBuild Louisville, 800 S. Preston St.

For more information about the redlining initiative, visit the Office of Redevelopment Strategies’ website.

Caitlin Bowling
Louisville native Caitlin Bowling has covered the local restaurant and retail scene since 2014. After graduating from the Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Caitlin got her start at a newspaper in the mountains of North Carolina where she won multiple state awards for her reporting. Since returning to Louisville, she’s written for Business First and Insider Louisville, winning awards for health and business reporting and becoming a go-to source for business news. In addition to restaurants and retail business, Caitlin covers real estate, economic development and tourism. Email Caitlin at [email protected]