Digital Redlining

You may have heard of the term “redlining” - the use of a literal red line border on a map to highlight areas of poverty and predominantly minority areas (used to do some terrible things like discriminate on loans or shift development of buildings/resources). “Digital redlining“ is the practice of creating and perpetuating inequities between racial, cultural, and class groups specifically through the use of digital technologies, digital content, and the internet [source:]

One way to see this is through the recent highly popular game Pokémon Go. The green dots here are pokestops. The redlines? Detroit.


There are numerous stories out there on this topic and it’s critical for everyone to think about the unintended (or even perhaps intended) consequences of technology and biases that are built in to algorithms and models.

The data is there. Visuals like geospatial maps helps us better understand the issues. How would you make this more clear for instance?



  • Thanks @joewarbington for sharing this. I'm really interested in beginning discussions like this in my community.

    Have you found any successful techniques for nurturing these conversations? It seems that it is difficult to choose any audience for the messaging, and some audiences require pre-work or additional discussions to get a level of data literacy where this can make sense.

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