“Insurance and Disasters” by Meehan, Sundt, and Zhang
This presentation highlighted the history of natural disasters in Omaha and their subsequent possible effects on redlining through 3 key arguments:
- “There is a correlation between areas that receive the most weather damage and where you are located.
- “There is a correlation between areas that receive the most weather damage and demography.
- “There is a bias regarding insurance availability and where you are located in Omaha due to factors like redlining.”
The topic was set up and introduced nicely, and I appreciated having the key arguments laid out at the beginning and then referenced again throughout the presentation. In Section VI with the topographic elevation map, having the instruction to click on different areas was very helpful. I also thought the depiction of how close buildings moved to the Missouri River was great to include, and showing areas of flooding beside the Missouri was interesting. The pictures added to the story and helped explain the damage. The legend written on the side panel for Section VII of the map was easy to follow. Section VIII included a lot of information and tied together several points of the presentation, and I really appreciated that slide as well as their conclusion slide – I thought both were put together quite nicely!
I was a little confused by their choice to set the maps in the Introduction and the Flooding on the Missouri sections on the side screen instead of the main panel. I thought that the imagery they included was helpful for explaining some of the landscape & flooding damage, but I expected their story to involve the maps a little more. I would’ve preferred the maps at least have the option to click to make bigger if they were going to be off the main panel. I wish that for the section talking about crop damage & hail, there’d been some sort of size comparison on the screen for hail. Furthermore, I was looking for a legend on that map but couldn’t find one, so it would’ve been nice if that were included as well. I also think I would have been nice if their map picture in the conclusions section was more focused on weather damage or insurance and not just a general picture of Omaha.
Inextricably Linked: Lead and Redlining
- The brief synopsis of lead and redlining is that there was a lead plant where the Lewis and Clark Landing/Pedestrian Bridge are now and the plant spewed out oodles of lead into the atmosphere which then settles onto the ground and is breathed in, or enters the human body in some sort of fashion and can cause all sorts of bad health issues.
- I really liked the first image you see in your presentation. I think I recognize it from the Durham Museum presentations, but overall it is a strong and powerful image of the ASARCO plant(s). I liked the order in how you told the story. It was like building a good foundation, then you brought your argument to the forefront. I also thought the remediation sites plus the HOLC map was in particularly powerful and probably the best map you had. I also liked the addition of lead pollution of today. You gave a lot of historical background into lead pollution and to summarize your points, you gave context into today, which then further linked me into this.
- After seeing the presentation, I personally did not think that lead and redlining were inextricably linked. There was a distinct lack of argument between redlining and lead pollution. I think, personally, this is because lead pollution does not discriminate based on race or ethnicity. It just so happens that the bad areas, and the good areas are both effected equally. Interesting data would have been that the relative amount of home (black vs. white households) was disproportionate to the lead pollution. Perhaps the data was not there, but I would have liked to see some sort of argument in that direction.
- briefly provide a synopsis of the map and its argument
I am reviewing the “Road to Redlining in Omaha” story map presented on Wednesday. The overall purpose of the story map was to illustrate the impact of highway/interstate systems on Omaha through the years. This group was able to accomplish this by using a series of maps, which had some pretty cool features attached to them. The groups main argument was that Omaha targeted redlined neighborhoods when destroying homes to make way for highway construction.
- Describe the strengths of the map/maps/mapping product. What did it do well?
I think this group did a great job with their maps. While they we’re presenting with their maps it was very easy to understand what they we’re trying to explain through the map. The eyeglass feature that this group had was the coolest map feature used by any group for these projects. I wish my group had known how to use that eyeglass tool instead of just the slide bar. Also, this group did a great job of finding strong historical sources to support their arguments. I think one of the group members mentioned that he found some really good sources in the library which is great for a project like this because you need quality sources to ensure that the audience accepts your argument. I definitely left this presentation feeling like I had learned from it.
- Describe the weaknesses of the project. What could have been more effectively described? Did it make claims it didn’t support? What might you have done differently?
I thought that one of this groups strongest areas was their use of historical sources to support their claims. One criticism that I have is that the project as a whole could’ve been a little bit more visually appealing. Because pretty much the whole project was maps I would’ve like to see some more pictures and maybe even a video. It’s hard to criticize this group for anything really important because their project was rock solid.
Streetscars, Suburbanization, and Segregation argued that streetcars played a large role in white flight in Omaha. That streetcars aided in the transportation of white Omaha residents living in racially restricted western parts of the city to the city center. One could live in a western segregated neighborhood and still be connected to the rest of Omaha through public transportation. This story map continues, connecting streetcars, white flight, lead poisoning and property values. The authors argued that the white flight aided by streetcars was also furthered by property values decreasing in homes closer to areas graded C and D by the HOLC.
The strongest slide was the series of maps demonstrating the westward sprawl in Omaha during the time of the streetcar era. This map does a great job demonstrating there is a correlation between street car usage and westward sprawl in Omaha. Similarly the case study of Dundee and the larger connection to redlining, racial segregation, and street cars demonstrated a clear correlation. However, I wish there was an argument made about causation even if there was not any. I was left asking the question did westward sprawl create a need for streetcars, or did streetcars incite more westward sprawl?
I also would have liked the map of streetcar lines (the first map) to be directly compared or overlayed with the redlining HOLC map. This would have created a stronger comparison between redlining and streetcars. SImilarly, I wish the connection between lead paint and streetcars was made more clear, as the audience was left to draw the connection on their own.
Ultimately this story map did a great job pointing out the connections between redlining, racial segregation, and street cars within the historical context of Omaha. It would have been interesting to compare streetcar usage with current public transportation especially as car ownership has increased (since the timeline in the storymap) and as streetcars might be coming back to Omaha. This story map would work nicely alongside the interstate story map as both discuss transportation as a reaction to white flight. I would be interested to see if there were any connections in placement and history.
This week we learned about mapping and cartography about race. It is also the category of maps that represents inequality because many people judge the racial distributions based on race. In the reading, I realized the suburbanization had become a demographic phenomena. The appeal of the low- density loving over time and across regional , class and ethic lines are so powerful. Government influence can be enormous. These maps are central to the distribution of race in different regions, and the main idea behind these maps is the racialized districts, counties, states, or even country. People who made these maps sought to use geographic distribution to understand race. We see racial maps of the whole world, and we also often see maps with in a state. In this week’s reading, we have looked at the racial map of the United States and it represents the 2010 Census Block Data. In the map, different dots represent different racial groups. If we zoom in, we are able to examine data in a smaller region. From this map, we can learn that our ethnicity information is being closely watched by the government.
This week’s reading looks specifically at the development of rural area. This is an important concept because the fundamental relationship between people and the natural environment they are living within. I was surprised plowing the great plains for crop agriculture did not happen quickly and only 55% of the land was good for crops. However, the decades show the agriculture could be developed and comprehensive. All human beings and almost all human societies rely on the agricultural products. Therefore, it is important to look at the changes happening to the rural and urban area. Surprisingly, the textbook indicates that most people lived outside of cities until 2007. The statistics is really shocking because I would expect the United States to have more people living in cities given the fact that it is such a highly-developing and advanced country. The city also has a larger population density. Nonetheless, when we look at the rural and urban distribution map of the United States, it is obvious that agriculture is still the dominant distribution in the United States. Different levels of green in this map represent different density levels of wheat planted in the area, and we can see that the wheat growth still outnumber the city density.
In this week’s reading, we read about the map of diseases. The map of diseases can be applied to chronic diseases in a certain region, or a country, and it can also be used to monitor epidemiology. I think maps of diseases are especially useful in the public health field. For example, in an epidemiology, the public health workers can use the maps of diseases to monitor the density of the epidemiology. They can find out which parts of city or the country have the highest incidence and prevalence. During the outbreak of diarrhea in Europe, the health workers were able to use the maps to find out certain cities with highest incidence of diarrhea. They then find out that these cities share a similarity of using the same water source. Soon, they detected the bacteria in the water. In this map, it clearly indicates the origin and other information we need to know about small pox. On this map, the information is clearer and easier to interpret.
I am reviewing the topic arguing redlining and public school education. Overall, I think they did a great job by using the data to present in different maps. The colors and districts are clear when I see it. One thing is not that clear for me was also their data. They should find more examples to support the argument instead of the ACT.
Strengthes: Clear Topic with great start page. They have a great historical context for the topic, which let me explore more culture stuff about Omaha. The racism is always existed as the demographic changes since 60s and 70s.
Weaknesses: Just a suggestion, they can compare not only the ACT data between the different public school districts. If I am doing this project, I would like to compare the household income data in different public school zone, because I think the more west with better education may have more support financially. For example, if the Elkhorn public school’s kids can use the Macbook to search for the information or knowledge, the kids in the poor area may not able to access the computer. The funding inequality can also be mentioned even they are all public schools.
Anderson, Luttrell, and Vance Commentary:
This presentation was on the demographics in Omaha. The storymap began with an overview of how Omaha was settled and used maps to display the breakup of tribal lands and the borders of the county. Demographic information was provided from 1870 and on and maps depicted where railroads were at the time. A brief description and map depicting great migration was also provided. The story also included a brief history of housing discrimination in Omaha, racial tensions, and neighborhood associations.
Strengths: The maps created for this presentation were great visually. The maps in the story work really well, especially the one depicting the great migration. Maps were also placed appropriately as they related to the story being told.
Weaknesses: Sources were not cited in each section even though there are quotations used. The neighborhood associations map is hard to understand/see from the presentation and the overlapping makes it hard to see actual boundaries. In the presentation itself (especially at end) it’s hard to see the connectivity between neighborhood associations and final HUD map.
I am doing my reflection on the school system presentation. I really enjoyed this presentation because it was presentation that I could relate to. In the city of Minneapolis/ St. Paul there is the same problem in the public schools. Growing up, there was clearly a segregation of race in the public school system that was noticeable. It seemed to be the same problem. It seems to be a similar situation to the one in Omaha. Most of the suburban schools are white, while the inner city school are of different races. Until this class and presentation, I had not realized that this problem may have been because of redlining.
I think that my favorite part about the presentation is the slide bar map comparing race and ACT scores. I think that it is a really powerful part of the presentation because it really proves the difference in how good the schools are. I know that the ACT is not the perfect test to show how well a school performs, but it seems to me to be one of the only ways to prove the point. I was not expecting for there to be that much of a difference. I think that map alone can show you that there is a problem and that something needs to be done. I know that it was mentioned in the presentation that some schools get more funding than others. It would be interesting to see the difference also in the funding that these schools are receiving. I would assume that the schools that are not performing as well have less funding and worse facilities. I think my one criticism of the presentation would be that I wish you would have centered the presentation more on how the schools perform because of this segregation. I am not sure if it is possible to get certain data that would help you with this, but it would be interesting to see graduation rates, and even college graduation rates.
Finally, I think what this group did well was talk about what the government has tried to do to fix the problem. I feel like I personally at least do not hear about what is trying to be done to fix the problem. It was interesting to hear what has tried to be done, even though nothing has seemed to work yet. I think that this is a very hard problem to solve and I certainly do not have an answer on how to solve the problem.
Through a historical context and mapping redlining, census tract populations, and school districts, Greer, Stang, and Drahota argued that there is a correlation between redlining and segregation of public schools in Omaha.
Overall, I thought their presentation was well done, given the relatively narrow topic. One critique is that initially, their argument was not entirely clear. They didn’t make an explicit connection between redlining and public schools until Dr. Sundberg asked them to clarify.
Stang had a strong introduction to the topic in his non-sugarcoated honesty about the history of Omaha public schools regarding racism and segregation. He really seemed to care about the topic.
Reading the text on their slides, there are a few grammatical errors and overuse of words or phrases. One example is starting off a sentence with “This….” under the second paragraph under the “Douglas County Demographics 1970 – 2000” section. Occasional use of the passive voice also takes away from getting their point across. Another minor criticism is the following sentence under “2014 Douglas County Schools”: “The district is now trying to districts with higher levels of students that live in poverty”. Even with the context beforehand, I have no idea what they’re trying to say here — maybe “…trying to work with…?” I also want to clarify a claim on their “Redlining History” section; African Americans were not the only ethnic group that suffered consequences of redlining. While they have arguably suffered the most, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, and other groups also suffered from the consequences of redlining.
Regarding their maps, I thought the did a decent job. One way they could have improved their maps is more clear labeling; their map under “Douglas County Demographics 1970 – 2000” is an example. By writing text above each of the four maps, they could have made the trend of white flight they are arguing for more clear. In addition, for the maps that have the school district labels, placing an arrow or a line from the label to the area of interest would have made the distinctions more clear, especially with the graduated shading color scales used (example: “2000 Douglas County Schools Map”).
It’s crazy to me how even after nixing Ernest Chambers’ idea to racially divide the school districts, that’s how the current district boundaries are set up today. I think their story map makes this implicit argument, adding more depth and meaning to their initial claim. Overall, they fairly well.