While the Erasing Red Lines reports spoke of “distressed communities” and places experiencing “decline,” the core message—threaded through all three reports—is that patterns of “distress” and “decline” are products of a flawed and discriminatory political economic system. The formal act of mid-20th Century redlining was chosen to animate this core message because it is tangible and recognizable, and because its legacy is still so visible on the map today. Yet, to conclude that redlining is the sole reason, or even the main reason, for contemporary patterns of spatial inequality would be to misread the reports. Rather, redlining is merely one, albeit (in)famous, example of a biased system at work, reinforcing its biases.
On that note, how should the reports be used? And where do we go from here? This Epilogue tries to succinctly answer these two questions by recapping the essential themes, tools, and takeaways from Erasing Red Lines.