SDS 236 Final Visualization

This visualization shows the locations of the most expensive AirBnB’s in Boston, mapped over the grades assigned to each region by the Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) in the 1950s. In an effort to preserve racial segregation, the HOLC assigned lower grades to regions with a higher percentage of Black residents, thus denying them access to capital investment. While neighborhoods remained segregated for decades, there has since been an influx of wealthy, often white, newcomers in redlined areas who drive up home prices and push out long-term residents.

Gentrification isn’t a new phenomenon, but AirBnB is rapidly becoming its newest and most lucrative frontier. A 2017 report found that in predominantly Black New York City neighborhoods, AirBnB hosts are 5 times more likely to be white. White hosts also earned over 3 times more revenue from the site than Black hosts. By allowing wealthy homeowners to turn a profit on otherwise vacant properties, AirBnB decreases the already limited supply of housing in major cities and further drives up prices in gentrified areas.

This data visualization shows the location of those such properties in Boston, many of which are in the neighborhoods of South End, Fenway, and Back Bay. While those regions received “D” and “C” grades respectively in the initial HOLC evaluation, they have since become some of the most affluent and trendy neighborhoods in the city.