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Amy Hillier, research associate at the Cartographic Modeling Laboratory at University of Pennsylvania, will speak on her study, “Redlining and the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation,” at a brown bag lecture noon Thursday in Skillman Library room 217.

A complimentary buffet-style lunch will be provided at the lecture, which is free and open to the public.

Hillier’s study examines the relationship between maps made by the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation, which denoted “hazardous” areas in red, and mortgage discrimination in the 1930s. Many believe the HOLC maps were the culprit in redlining and disinvestment in certain U.S. cities.

By using Geographic Information Systems and spatial statistical models, Hillier concluded that the maps did not explain differences in lending patterns. She supplemented her findings by examining archival materials and articles from the 1930s. These resources showed lenders avoiding red areas before the circulation of HOLC maps and confirmed that the maps were not widely distributed.

Hillier holds a Ph.D. in social welfare from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to assuming her current position at Penn, she worked as a research assistant at the Cartographic Modeling Laboratory and served as a postdoctoral researcher at the Population Studies Center. Hillier is working on a number of research projects involving urban issues and the application of GIS and spatial statistical methods, including housing abandonment, housing discrimination, and public health. Her work has been published in Journal of Urban Affairs, Administration and Social Work, and Past Time, Past Place: GIS for History.

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