One thing we learn from the maps of Omaha, Washington, and Austin is that segregation doesn’t always mean on polar opposites of an area. For example, Washington’s economic elite were within blocks of the poorer citizens. While not always explicitly chosen, the wealthy individuals within these cities centered their homes around certain important locations in the city or away from different things like railroads. Before looking into housing segregation through this Placing Segregation project, I had always assumed there were clear cut borders when it came to racial and economic segregation but that isn’t true even in my hometown. It isn’t rare to see expensive houses within half a mile from rundown houses.
This project raised the question of how long these imaginary borders of economic disparity took to fully develop as well as what these cities look like now in comparison to the 1860’s and 1870’s. I would be interested in seeing how different housing programs, segregation legislation, and gentrification have moved these borders around over time. Also, I’m not very well read when it comes to economic policies but I would be interested in looking into how these policies might have effected these cities in the 1860’s and 1870’s compared to later times in history that housing and economic legislation have impacted segregation – either intentional or otherwise – in these cities as well as others like Atlanta or New York City.
For my own project, I would most likely use maps in a different way than the Placing Segregation project as my focus is primarily on social issues rather than economic status (working, merchant, or wealthy elite). My topic isn’t entirely nailed down yet, but I intend to include a map to show the locations of murders throughout the city and then comparing that to average income or racial demographic in those areas. I’m interested to look into how socioeconomic status plays into perceived increase in violence or certain crimes compared to the narrative we’re told now about the relationship between crime and wealth.