Undesign the Redline, Localized and Personalized Exhibit

New information to be presented to the public this December

Undesign the Redline, Localized and Personalized Exhibit

PCHTF is proud to present the completed Undesign the Redline exhibit to the community starting in December.

Redlining designed racism into the landscape of America, it has never been undone. The Undesign the Redline exhibit unpacks this history, demystifies policies that reinforce this legacy and explores what we can do now to “undesign” decisions that perpetuate inequity in our communities. As the exhibit travels throughout the United States, localized stories and information is collected and displayed. This process is now taking place in Des Moines with the guidance of a Community Advisory Committee and PCHTF. This new research will look at the events surrounding discriminatory lending practices, Urban Renewal projects, the demolition of Center Street, and personal stories related to discrimination and segregation in Des Moines. The exhibit also allows its viewers to reflect and discuss ways to re-frame, re-design and re-invest in the neighborhoods impacted.

Throughout the timeline section of the exhibit, Des Moines and Iowa specific events depict how national trends, policies and community action truly influenced what was happening on the ground here in Iowa. From the Underground Railroad and farming strikes to New Deal Redlining and Homeownership policies, from Urban Renewal to the Civil Rights Movement, and from the War on Drugs to Black Lives Matter, Des Moines and the State of Iowa have been submerged in these moments and movements. Reading how local events, which are close to home for many Iowans, especially the African American community, fit into the larger picture of what was going on in the nation is eye-opening and provides perspective about the impact they had on our community. 

An especially compelling and incredibly personal part of the exhibit is our own community members’ stories of discrimination, displacement, segregation and other experiences during Urban Renewal in the 1960s/70s. These stories provide a glimpse into the problems that were created by federal policy and local decision-makers and the impact they had and still have on the greater Des Moines community, and more specifically the African American community. We believe these community insights compel viewers of the exhibit to think deeply about how policy and action affect the African American community in Des Moines and start to have conversations on what we can do to mitigate and remedy those actions through better, more equitable, community-based policy-making and planning efforts.

You are invited, starting the week of December 1st, to tour the Des Moines Undesign the Redline exhibit at Franklin Junior High. Please call the Polk County Housing Trust Fund at 515-282-3233 to schedule a tour.