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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 will be available for free at the University of Dayton Roesch Library in the Stuart & Mimi Rose Gallery (first floor) from Friday, Oct. 1 through Sunday, Oct. 31. Each part of the exhibit includes a scannable QR-code for a virtual docent experience. 

The exhibit will travel throughout the Miami Valley in 2021-22. There will be a community-wide symposium led by the University of Dayton on April 7-8, 2022, at the Hub, powered by PNC at the Dayton Arcade (see additional host sites below).

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, 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 Arden McHugh. Community stories were gathered by students of Dr. David Fine of the Department of English.

For Your Information

  • 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

  • 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

  • Aug. 6-Sept. 25, 2021, Dayton Metro Library
  • October 2021, University of Dayton
  • November 2021, Sinclair Community College
  • January 2022, Trotwood-Madison City School District
  • February 2022, Wright State University
  • March 2022, Dayton Metro Library, West Branch 
  • April 7-8, 2022, The HUB powered by PNC at the Dayton Arcade

Additional Resources

  • Open to all University of Dayton students, faculty and staff, the "Race, Place and Human Rights Series" hosted the Racial Wealth Gap Simulation on Tuesday, Sept. 28. The event was sponsored by the Human Rights Studies Program and the Human Rights Center, and is eligible for AVIATE PATH credit.
  • Open to all University of Dayton staff and faculty, the Inclusive Excellence Academy offered "Redlining Dayton: From Creating to Dismantling Racial Segregation" on Oct. 5. The session explored Dayton's history of redlining and common solutions that we can be a part of. Click here to register.
  • Open to all University of Dayton students, faculty and staff, The Dialogue Zone hosted "The Legacy of Redlining in the City of Dayton," a conversation Oct. 13 and Oct. 21 in the Dialogue Zone Meeting Space (RL 107). "The Legacy of Redlining in the City of Dayton" is a program that covers the beginnings of redlining in 1930s Dayton, which saw the introduction of maps that used red lines to mark neighborhoods that posed risks for federal funding of home ownership programs. Race was a key factor that determined the creation of these zones. Click here to RSVP.
  • UD students had the opportunity to engage in an AVIATE event to earn PATH credit by participating in the "UnDesign the Redline: Repercussions and Advocating Change" between Oct. 1-31. Participants in this self-guided program explored materials in the UnDesign the Redline exhibit, hear local stories and be prompted to consider the analysis presented. Students are invited to look at the ways that people are denied their basic human rights through these systems and dynamics. This AVIATE event is made possible with campus partners including the Human Rights Studies Program, the University of Dayton Libraries, the Human Rights Center, and the Multi-Ethnic Education and Engagement Center. More information can be found on 1850.  
  • Open to all University of Dayton students for AVIATE PATH credit, the Creating Inclusive Community and Diversity Peer Educators hosted ”Walk the Redline: Student Reflections on Segregation and Redlining” on Oct. 26 in Roesch Library. This event provided further opportunity to engage in dialogue and education around the history of segregation and how redlining practices of the past still impact our communities today. Pre-registration is required on 1850.

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