In recent times, national attention has been drawn to cases of biases and disparate treatment, particularly of people of color at the hands of the police. The subtle forms of violence can be seen in land use zoning and code enforcement. This percolates into the way of living and the habitat environment for many families in the US. This research project learns from the past zoning practices of segmenting racial groups into separate neighborhoods, as illustrated in the evocative base map. It further looks at how similar thinking is today seen in the housing codes and its enforcement by local governments who have the authority to adopt localized ordinances.
We view code enforcement as an applied legal practice that may deepen existing disparities, particularly in socially and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. Our research explores 29 mid-sized Illinois cities and compares the code enforcement practices with the analysis of demographic, economic, and housing data. The project aims for a publicly accessible code database and prompt conversation between cities about code enforcement practices.