Edited by Kris Bezdecny and Kevin Archer
Chapter 20: Applying critical cartography to redress urban disinvestment and financial access for communities
Cities are places where agglomeration effects and the intensification of economic exchange create a highly specialized and stratified social structure. Many urban areas in the United States seek to address the decline of their industrial sector via redevelopment and transformation. The extent to which legacy residents of communities in or near those former industrial zones are allowed and able to remain becomes an area of concern. In many cases these households are among the most vulnerable: people of color, the elderly, recent immigrants, or low-to-moderate-income (LMI) non-Hispanic whites. Residential segregation separates communities along racial, ethnic, and economic lines, presenting structural barriers to full participation in the opportunities and amenities that urbanization provides. In this new post-industrial dynamic, the question becomes what methods – data and techniques – can be used to identify zones of gentrification or disinvestment in order to guide policy and encourage reinvestment. This chapter examines techniques used to identify urban investment patterns under the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 (CRA) and the Affordable Housing Goals (AHG), a dynamic set of goals enshrined by the Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act of 1992. Using datasets of mortgage and small business lending, and bank branch location, investment levels and financial access for different communities are exposed. This activity bears similarities with critical cartography strategies and uses GIS to examine spatial patterns of inequitable capital access for disadvantaged communities. Two case studies are presented: Baltimore and Oakland. Baltimore provides an example of the isolation of communities from spillover effects, despite considerable reinvestment. Spillover effects from San Francisco have initiated gentrification in Oakland, a community at the edge of a developing world-city.
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