The Cost of Dispossession

The Austin City Council commissioned “a study and … a report outlining the economic value of the direct, indirect, intentional, and unintentional harm caused through economic, health, environmental, criminal injustice, and other racial disparities and declination of resources by the City” (Resolution 20210304-067, pg. 6). In conjunction with the recently established City Equity Office, a team of researchers from the University of Texas at Austin (UT) took up the task of quantifying the cost of Black dispossession due to City policies. Our research team (see below) developed a methodology using historical census and tax records, historical city directories, and contemporary tax assessments to estimate the value of Black land lost . We estimate the value of Black land lost from the Black communities outside of East Austin through City policies associated with the 1928 Plan to be in excess of $290 million.

Project Overview

Freedom Communities Dispossessed

To provide historical context to the demographic and land valuation data produced, the Cost of Dispossession team has also engaged in detailed historical research of Austin’s Black communities, to date focusing on Wheatville, the Red River community, Clarksville, and the East Campus community. This research is presented below.


Red River Community


East Campus Community

Preliminary Report Presented to the Austin City Council

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This project was made possible by advocacy and support from: the Black Austin Coalition, the City of Austin, the Austin History Center, and its Collections Manager Molly Hults.

Raced Space Research Team

Kellee Coleman, Alap Dave, Edmund T. Gordon, Ishan Gordon, Rich Heyman, Katherine Pace, Kevin Patel, Anna-Lisa Plant, Amy Shreeve.

CRediT (Contributor Roles Taxonomy)

Kellee Coleman—Funding acquisition, Project administration

Alap Dave—Conceptualization, Data curation, Investigation, Methodology

Edmund T. Gordon—Conceptualization, Funding acquisition, Investigation, Methodology, Project administration, Supervision, Verification, Writing—original draft, Writing—review & editing

Ishan Gordon—Conceptualization, Data curation, Investigation, Methodology

Rich Heyman—Conceptualization, Formal analysis, Investigation, Methodology, Verification, Visualization, Writing—original draft, Writing—review & editing

Katherine Pace—Conceptualization, Investigation, Writing—original draft, Writing—review & editing

Kevin Patel—Data curation, Investigation, Methodology

Anna-Lisa Plant—Funding acquisition, Project administration, Writing—review & editing

Amy Shreeve—Data curation, Investigation, Methodology, Supervision, Verification, Visualization


Emma Freer, “Black dispossession study starts to quantify cost of the city’s 1928 master plan,” Austin Monitor, September 6, 2022,