On the Edge

On the Edge, a book edited by Paul C. Brophy, aims to stimulate a national dialogue about middle neighborhoods. Presented in a series of case studies and essays by leading policymakers, community development professionals, and scholars, this volume explores the complex web of communities transitioning—for better or worse—across America. The shrinking middle class as well as growing income segregation and inequality in the United States is the backdrop for this publication. On the Edge authors provide ideas for action and advocate for new and innovative community, housing, and education policies to better support on-the-edge neighborhoods and create opportunities for the millions of people who live in them.

With nearly half of all urban residents currently living in a middle neighborhood, participants in convenings held across the U.S. unanimously agree that we need to do more to stabilize and strengthen these vital urban assets before its too late.

AN ACTION AGENDA

The American Assembly is organizing a two-day working session in November 2017 designed to consolidate and nurture support for a middle neighborhoods movement. The meeting will bring together leading authorities to identify how to advance a middle neighborhoods agenda through research, practice, and policy— the three priority areas of the middle neighborhoods movement.

  • Henry CisnerosFormer Secretary of U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Founder and Chairman, CityView

    “Many attributes define the health of cities – economic strength, unemployment levels, cultural amenities, and physical attractiveness – but they all should manifest themselves in quality places to live. In that sense, sustaining decent, safe, and livable neighborhoods is the most basic purpose of a city. Preserving and enhancing a city’s middle neighborhoods is not peripheral strategy; it must be at the heart of efforts to strengthen a city. Paul Brophy has assembled a group of experts who have effectively identified the challenges, underscored the importance, and offered solid prescriptions for capitalizing on the urban assets which are the middle neighborhoods.”

  • Nancy CantorChancellor, Rutgers University, Newark

    “Is America a land of opportunity anymore? Can families who strive for educational achievement, home ownership, job security, and healthy lives, find a place in our cities today? Middle neighborhoods, the subject of this terrifically thoughtful volume, sit critically in the center of that landscape. The essays in this volume speak convincingly from the force of on-the-ground experience that middle neighborhoods can spearhead the broader effort to recapture America’s opportunity map. It is a must read at a time when it is too facile to give up and too urgent to wait to invest.”

  • Tom BarrettMayor, City of Milwaukee

    "Anyone familiar with American cities will recognize middle neighborhoods. They are important components of diverse and changing urban settings. This book offers enlightening observations, analysis, and advice on middle neighborhoods that are useful to policy-makers, academics, urbanists, and city residents."

On the Edge

On the Edge
By The American
Assembly

Edited by
Paul C. Brophy

$24

 

In the Media

The Lifeblood of Cities: “Middle” neighborhoods—neither affluent nor poor—remain crucial to urban success

January 9, 2018 | City Journal |

By Aaron M. Renn

The media tend to portray urban neighborhoods as either booming gentrified districts or zones of impoverishment. Neighborhoods in between get overlooked. But these older urban and inner-suburban “middle neighborhoods” may be where the next generation of urban problems—or solutions—will be found. Cities once held vast tracts of such neighborhoods, populated by workers in manufacturing or the civil service. With what analysts call a “barbell” economy dividing increasingly into rich and poor, it’s no surprise that urban middle-class neighborhoods are feeling squeezed.