In Kansas City, Missouri, living east of Troost Avenue is a loaded a geographical signifier. East of Troost, abandoned houses are abundant. Schools are failing. Pizza shops won’t deliver because crime is so common. “East of Troost” is also, arguably, a racial euphemism: The street was enforced as a legal segregation line during the Jim Crow era. And today, nearly three in four people living east of the avenue within urban Kansas City are black.
That’s where Jim Vallandingham was living back in 2011—just on the eastern side of Troost—when he came up with one of the most powerful visualizations of urban segregation I’ve seen yet. His rendering of Kansas City is shown above.