Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mapping Municipal Inequity

The Cedar Grove Institute for Sustainable Communities uses GIS map overlays to demonstrate patterns of municipal discrimination against minority and low income residents. They began working in North Carolina with neighborhoods that were either targeted with undesirable projects such as highway bypasses or were ignored when building water or sewer services.

The map below is from Moore County in south central North Carolina. The brown area is Jackson Hamlet, a predominantly African American community. The red lines show the boundaries of the affluent golfing and retirement communities of Aberdeen, Pinehurst and Southern Pines. The dark lines are sewer mains.

Jackson Hamlet is surrounded but excluded from these areas meaning that they do not have sewer or garbage service from any of those towns and must rely on the county sheriff for police protection, rather than on the closer municipal police stations.

While the three towns have annexed land in other directions, they have all avoided Jackson Hamlet and demographically similar communities. The residents of these places have relied on septic systems, private trash haulers and/or burning garbage while in some cases watching the garbage trucks cut through their streets to get to the neighboring, more affluent towns.

In recent years the Institute has expanded its work nationwide. They helped residents outside of Zanesville, Ohio win almost $11 million in damages for years of unsuccessful requests for municipal water service. While the city expanded water service to newer, further away developments, African American residents in the Coal Run neighborhood were required to haul water from the water plant or pump it from contaminated wells.

This map shows how water lines were built to specifically serve the white residents of the neighborhood and played a vital role in the settlement.

The images above and some of the material came from an excellent article in Miller-McCune.

1 comment:

Michael5000 said...

Them's good maps. They're so cut-an-dried they look like textbook depictions of how you could use maps to expose prejudice.