Health Department Expands “Undesign the Redline” Exhibit to East Harlem And Brownsville Health Action Centers

The interactive exhibit explores the history of redlining in New York City and
highlights current social movements working to “undesign” the racist legacy

The exhibit is open to the public, free of charge, at the East Harlem and Brownsville Neighborhood Health Action Center through December 2018; guided tours will be available

October 12, 2018 –The Health Department's Center for Health Equity, in partnership with the social impact studio Designing the WE, today announced the expansion of the exhibit Undesign the Redline to the Brownsville, Brooklyn and East Harlem Neighborhood Health Action Centers. Undesign the Redline opened last January at the Bronx Action Center. The exhibit explores New York City’s history of redlining – a housing policy which began in the 1930s when the U.S. government drew maps to decide which neighborhoods in cities were too risky for mortgage loans. On the maps, areas whose residents were predominately people of color and recent immigrants, or neighborhoods with the potential for integration, were outlined in red. These neighborhoods were then systematically deprived of resources. The exhibit is open to the public, free of charge, at the East Harlem and Brownsville Neighborhood Health Action Center through December 2018. Guided tours will be available during visiting hours Tuesdays through Saturdays. Sign up for tours at the Brownsville Action Center.

The Brownsville and East Harlem Neighborhood Health Action Centers are located in areas that were redlined when the maps were drawn decades ago. Undesign the Redline provides a historical context on how generations have been impacted by this racist government policy. The exhibit explores the history of redlining through interactive maps, timelines and personal stories. It also highlights current social movements and community organizations working to “undesign” the racist legacy and invites the public to share ideas.

“We are proud to show the Undesign the Redline exhibit at the Brownsville and East Harlem Action Centers, both neighborhoods with a long history of disinvestment because of policies like redlining,” says Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “Viewing this exhibit brings residents together to better understand the history of racist policies and how they impact our health outcomes today.”

“As we activate these spaces, it is critical to use artful and interactive ways to communicate what really creates health in our neighborhoods. The East Harlem and Brownsville Neighborhood Health Action Centers are key places for people of all ages to learn about the history, policy, and the effects of structural racism on health,” said Dr. Aletha Maybank, Deputy Commissioner and Director of the Center for Health Equity.

About designing the WE

Designing the WE is a for-benefit design studio positioned within the fields of social innovation and community-driven social, cultural and economic development. Designing the WE facilitates collaborative processes to redefine how big picture systemic challenges are approached, identify opportunities for action, and co-design more holistic and resilient strategies centered on positive transformation.

About the Health Department’s Center for Health Equity

The Center for Health Equity works toward a fair and healthy New York where all residents—regardless of their zip code—have the opportunity to lead their healthiest lives. As a division of the New York City Health Department, the Center for Health Equity strengthens the agency’s goal to eliminate health inequities, or unjust differences in health outcomes, for residents in neighborhoods impacted by racism and long-term disinvestment by organizations and institutions. The Center uses data and storytelling to highlight injustices, influencing policy, systems, and environmental change, and implementing neighborhood-based strategies to foster health.

The Center for Health Equity’s Neighborhood Health Action Centers work to address the root causes of health inequities in East Harlem, the South Bronx, and Central and East Brooklyn. The Action Centers offer coordinated health and social services, as well as community programs under one roof. They also provide hubs for people to become involved in efforts to improve the health of their neighborhoods. For more information on the Center for Health Equity, visit Center for Health Equity.

Follow the Center for Health Equity on social media using #NYCHealthEquity.



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