Undesign the Redline

Understanding and Transforming the Effects of Housing Discrimination in Omaha

Tuesday: 2–8 pm
Wednesday & Thursday: Noon–8 pm
Friday: Noon–6 pm
Saturday: 10am–5 pm

During the following hours, the exhibit is staffed by Redline tour guides, helping orient guests to the space:

Tuesday–Thursday: 2–8 pm
Saturday: 12–5 pm

Screen Shot 2019 06 05 at 6 59 47 AM Omaha redlining map


Beginning in 1936, the neighborhoods of Omaha’s Near North and South sides were systematically segregated from the rest of the city by means of prohibitive and discriminatory home lending practices. In Omaha, and cities across the country, red lines were literally drawn on city maps by the federally-funded Home Owners’ Loan Corporation, identifying predominantly African-American and immigrant communities as “hazardous” and unfit for investment.

The Union is extremely proud to host Undesign the Redline, an interactive exhibit, workshop series, and curriculum exploring the foundations of structural racism and the lingering effects of Redlining. The program will be facilitated by the New York-based organization, designing the WE, who’ve already brought their illuminating work to over a dozen redlined cities throughout the country.

The Union will serve as the gathering site for neighbors to share personal histories and collectively explore the ways in which Redlining and other formalized forms of discrimination persist today, and how they might be overcome and redesigned.

We are honored to be aided in this work by an inspiring group of Omaha community leaders and advocates. The Undesign the Redline Community Advisory Committee will help shape the content of the exhibition, and support the facilitation of public programs created to help inspire conversations about race and systematic disparities in Omaha. CLICK HERE to learn more about our Advisors.

Systemic challenges today, like inequalities in housing, education, income, criminal justice and health are far from separate issues. These challenges are rooted in a deep and entangled history of policies, practices and processes that remain unrevealed and misunderstood. As new forces begin to transform cities and towns, decisions about interconnected challenges are therefore often made ‘in the dark.’

Undesign the Redline explores these reframed opportunities from a shared value perspective, and grounds discussions about race, wealth, opportunity and power in an honest context that is not about guilt and blame. This allows everyone to contribute their value to the design and development of projects, partnerships and decisions that seek to transform communities and move beyond the challenging and often clouded situation of our entangled past.

A special "Thank You" to Professor Palma Strand of Creighton University for sharing Omaha's HOLC map (ca.) 1935.


The signature piece of the Undesign the Redline project, this traveling exhibit invites participants to learn the history, interact with the stories and invent the future of undoing structural inequities. Become a part of a larger conversation, as many of the elements of the exhibit have been inspired by and added to by those who have visited previous installations. The exhibit has been in pop-up store fronts, abandoned buildings, social impact conferences, corporate headquarters and on the street. To Undesign Redlining, we need to connect all of these people and places.

Introduction: How explicit racism became structural.

Redlining: Explore the HOLC Maps and area descriptions of your city.

Timeline: Where does redlining fit in a history of devaluing and disenfranchisement? How was it combatted by people with another vision for society?

Stories from the Line: Hear from the experiences of those affected by Redlining and humanize the lessons of history.

Undesign the Line: Learn about alternative models, hear inspirational stories, and participate in inventing the policies, practices and entities that could undesign this legacy.

  • Share Your Redline experience with the "Stories from the Redline" community testimony project.

  • Share your thoughts on housing affordability in the Omaha-Council Bluffs region.This housing survey includes 19 questions and will take about 10 minutes to complete. Thank you!

  • We'd love facilitate a visit to Undesign the Redline for your group, classroom, or organization!