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  • Study: Historic racial covenants in property deeds linked to disparities in exposure to dangerous heat

    Portrait of Rebecca Walker standing in front of a window with the exterior of Temple Buell Hall behind her.

    Historic racial covenants in property deeds continue to influence who is most at risk from exposure to extreme heat today, according to a study by Rebecca Walker, a professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Walker’s study is the first to examine the environmental impact of racial covenants, using the first database to map the presence of the covenants in a U.S. metropolitan area.

    Photo by Fred Zwicky


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  • Editor’s notes: To contact Rebecca Walker, email

    The paper “The impacts of racially discriminatory housing policies on the distribution of intra-urban heat and tree canopy: A comparison of racial covenants and redlining in Minneapolis, MN” is available online. DOI: