Mapping Dallas-Fort Worth’s Racial Divide


That there is a map that is part of a series Wired is calling “The Best Map Ever Made of America’s Racial Segregation.” For anyone familiar with the region, this map doesn’t really reveal anything we already didn’t know (the African American and Hispanic south and southwest; the homogenized north surrounded by minority enclaves like Vickery Meadow, Hamilton Park, Northwest Dallas).  There are more interesting maps in the Wired collection (like this one, which illustrates just how much of a racial barrier 8 Mile Road is in Detroit). That said, what’s almost as startling as the visualization of latent segregation offered by the map, are the huge moats created by I30 and I35. If there was ever any doubt about the root cause of discontinuity in DFW, here’s visual proof, with the added bonus of seeing just how these undesirable highway barriers seem to impact geographical demographics. Also interesting is how intelligent the design of Central Expressway appears, just in terms of the way it avoids breaking up density. And you can also see in the map how the roots of Central’s design — a tool of aggressive segregationist development — still have a lingering impact on the demographic distribution north of downtown.


  • Web Mayfield

    The ‘moats’ around I-35E north of downtown Dallas and north of I-30 in west Dallas are there because the highways were built on river bottom land reclaimed by levees, channelization and flat out moving the river. Likewise the gaps along i-45 south of downtown are caused by the river bottoms. If teh highways weren’t there you would still have gaps in the built up areas. As you said, US 75 north of downtown and I-35E south of downtown (and I-30 east of downtown except where it goes over the White Rock Creek floodplain) show that if the levees and river bottoms aren’t there then development goes right up to the side of the highway. Along I-35E the reclaimed land was developed with industrial and commercial use before there was any demand for housing to spread out that way.

    • Peter Simek

      Umm. Right. That.

    • Chad

      No, you forgot the roads, bridges, and tunnels are there because of racism. As are the trees and hills, too… because we all know God is a racist as well.

  • Buckeye

    Looks like the highest density of whites is in Uptown.