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Roesch Chair in the Social Sciences

UnDesign the Redline

UnDesign the Redline

What is the UnDesign the Redline Exhibit? 

The UnDesign the Redline exhibit explores questions such as: Why are communities in Dayton often racially segregated? How did our neighborhoods form the way they did? How does this affect employment, education, policing, health care and other aspects of life? 

UnDesign the Redline is an important, visually compelling interactive exhibit tracing the tangled roots of government policies to the social issues we face today. UnDesign the Redline ignites discussion about race, wealth, opportunity and power, with the goal of transforming the future. 

The exhibit has been traveling throughout the Miami Valley area since August 2021. To host a site in Dayton, contact Designing the WE.

What is Redlining?

Redlining maps were introduced in the 1930s to show risk areas for federal funding of home ownership programs. These maps showed areas that were prime for investment, and areas where no money would be lent. The neighborhoods where no investment would be made were outlined in red, literally “redlined.”

Race was the primary factor in determining where these zones were drawn. Residents of these areas were often unable to access housing loans, mortgages and other financial services. Left with fewer housing and employment opportunities, shrinking tax bases in these areas also led to insufficient public services and concentrated poverty.

Meanwhile, investment poured into rapidly expanding, whiter suburbs. Owning property enabled families in these communities to accrue wealth over time, while also accessing better-funded schools, jobs and healthcare. Redlining is how structural racism was designed into cities. It's a practice which continued legally into the 1970s and continues to have ramifications today.

Who created the content for the exhibit? 

The UnDesign the Redline is created by the New York based organization Designing the WE. The local content was developed by community partners in Dayton (led by Learn to Earn Dayton, Dayton Metro Library, Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission, Premier Health, local colleges/universities, among many others). At the University of Dayton, advisory team members included Roesch Endowed Chair Leslie Picca, former Executive Director of the Ethos Center Kelly Bohrer, Assistant Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Tiffany Taylor Smith and Fitz Center Executive Director of the Fitz Center for Leadership in Community Nancy McHugh. Community stories were gathered by students of David Fine of the Department of English.

For Your Information

  • Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services
  • City of Dayton
  • Clark County Public Library
  • Consumer Credit Counseling Center
  • DATV
  • Dayton Children's Hospital
  • Dayton Human Relations Council
  • Home Ownership Center
  • Omega Community Development Corporation
  • ThinkTV
  • Wittenberg University

  • CareSource
  • Cox First Media
  • The Dayton Foundation
  • Dayton Metro Library
  • Evans Motor Group
  • Fifth Third Bank
  • Key Bank
  • LCNB Bank
  • Learn to Earn Dayton
  • Mathile Family Foundation
  • Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission
  • Montgomery County Educational Services Center
  • PNC
  • Premier Health
  • Sinclair Community College
  • StriveTogether
  • Trotwood-Madison School District
  • University of Dayton
  • Wright State University

Additional Resources

The one-hour documentary, Redlining: Mapping Inequality in Dayton and Springfield, is produced by ThinkTV and tells the stories of local Miami Valley residents who were impacted by redlining and the legacy of this federal policy that is still felt today.

Additional Resources (including books, TedTalks and Music) on Redlining in Dayton can be found on the Dayton Metro Library website.


Leslie H. Picca, Roesch Chair in the Social Sciences

St. Joseph Hall
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469