Two upcoming (Free!) webinars

Two upcoming CoP webinars, “Roles for Cities in Middle Neighborhoods” and “Intro to Middle Neighborhoods”, will be held on Tuesday, June 18th, 2019. Join us from 12:00-1:15pm EST to hear about the roles three city governments are playing in the revitalization and stabilization of middle neighborhoods. We’ll hear from a medium sized midwestern city (Des Moines, IA), a northeastern legacy city (Cleveland, OH) and a first ring suburb in the sunbelt (Plano, TX). Learn about their decisions to invest in middles, their strategies and their funding mechanisms. Register for “Roles for Cities” here. Also, if you’d like to learn about middle neighborhoods and the Middle Neighborhoods Community of Practice, join us 11:00 to 11:45am EST that same day. Register for “Intro to Middle Neighborhoods” here.

Questions? Email Marcia Nedland at

POSTPONED: Middle Neighborhoods Chicago National Working Group Meeting

The third annual working group meeting for the Community of Practice initially scheduled for Nov. 14-15, 2019 in Chicago has been postponed. More information coming soon.

Please fill out the Middle Neighborhoods Questionnaire

We’re collecting insights on what’s working to stabilize middle neighborhoods. If you haven’t already, please fill out the Middle Neighborhoods Community of Practice Questionnaire. Your input will help populate an overview of services provided by organizations working to stabilize and strengthen middle neighborhoods. Questionnaires also serve as the basis for profiles and case studies if you’d like to feature your work. Please complete the questionnaire by June 24, 2019. It only takes about 20 minutes.

National Steering Committee is Formed

March 25, 2019

A new Steering Committee has come together to determine the methods, structure, and resources to sustain a long-term effort that brings attention and support to America’s middle neighborhoods. The Steering Committee is comprised of 20 confirmed members, including prominent practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and funders working at national, state, and local levels. Read more

City of Cleveland Announces New Middle Neighborhoods Project Director

March 25, 2019

By Tania Menesse, City of Cleveland

The City of Cleveland has announced Jason Powers as the city’s new Middle Neighborhoods Project Director. Jason will lead an initiative to develop a strategy and toolkit to support conditions for development of mixed income neighborhoods in Cleveland.

Read more

What We Talk About When We Talk About Middle Neighborhoods

April 2, 2019

By Nelson Beckford, The Cleveland Foundation

Picture this: a rectangular table with 30 leaders from Cleveland’s community development field. We were there to discuss the concept of “middle neighborhoods” and to provide a recap of the Middle Neighborhood working group meeting in Cleveland for those who weren’t able to join. I didn’t know what to expect. Will the group take offense to the term “middle neighborhood”? Read more

Reflections on the ‘Building Advocacy for Middle Neighborhoods’ meeting in Cleveland

March 25, 2019

By Paul Brophy, Brophy & Reilly LLC

On November 13-14, 2018 approximately 200 people concerned about middle neighborhoods in America met in Cleveland to advance practice, research and policy priorities for middle neighborhoods. This high-level summary of the meeting seeks to provide a taste of the discussion and outcomes to those who could not attend. Read more

City of Baltimore Begins Work on Strengthening Middle Neighborhoods

March 25, 2019

By Tamika Gauvin, City of Baltimore

The Baltimore Innovation Team (i-team) recently kicked off its work on middle neighborhoods, where one-third of the city’s vacant houses reside. There are 22 national and global “i-teams”, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, that are charged with working on issues that mayors identify as intractable challenges in their respective cities

Read more

New Grant to Support Middle Neighborhoods Community of Practice

March 25, 2019

We are pleased to announce that the Joseph & Harvey Meyerhoff Family Charitable Funds, based in Baltimore, is providing a grant to support the nationwide Community of Practice. Read more


March 25, 2019

Are you a member of the Middle Neighborhoods Community of Practice (CoP)? The CoP is an informal, facilitated network of practitioners, researchers, and policymakers who share learnings through topical webinars, referrals, site visits, phone calls, and occasional larger group events. If you have ever attended one of our webinars or events, completed the CoP Questionnaire, or expressed a desire to be added to our contact list, we count you as a member – it’s that easy.

There are currently 250 individuals in the Middle Neighborhood Community of Practice (CoP), representing 131 organizations working within 33 specific cities or counties, across a specific region, or nationwide. The primary purpose of the Community of Practice is to facilitate peer-to-peer learning and technical assistance opportunities among practitioners active, or seeking to become active, in strategies to stabilize and strengthen middle neighborhoods.

The Community of Practice has two practitioner co-chairs, Nedra Sims-Fears of Greater Chatham Initiative in Chicago and Jeff Verespej of Old Brooklyn CDC in Cleveland. The organizer for the CoP is Marcia Nedland (also a practitioner) who is leading the charge to build the capacity of practitioners, while also deepening ties between practitioners, researchers, and policymakers.

CoP activities for 2019 include:

  • Bi-monthly newsletter conveying peer features, peer announcements, news stories, and resources.
  • Bi-monthly webinars with panels of practitioners, researchers, and policymakers speaking to topics of interest to other practitioners.
  • Collection and sharing of middle neighborhood profiles.
  • Best practice documentation and dissemination.
  • Facilitation of peer-to-peer referrals, introductions, and site visits.
  • One-hour Intro to Middle Neighborhoods webinar available for delivery to local networks on behalf of a CoP member, and offered regularly to help on-board new CoP members.
  • Facilitation of specific peer-peer contacts from an experienced practitioner to one exploring middle neighborhoods as a policy or practice initiative, e.g., council member-to-council member, foundation-to-foundation.
  • Facilitated input to research partners such as the Lincoln Institute for Land Policy, on priority research questions for practitioners.
  • Similar input for partners in lending, government and foundation communities.

Want to work with Marcia on a webinar? Want to organize a site visit to a peer? Ready to document your work in a case study?

To get yourself added to the CoP, complete the Questionnaire or email Marcia Nedland at

Recentering the ‘Middle’ in Our National Conversation

March 13, 2019 | Next City

By Michael Norton

There is a movement in many American cities to stabilize the property tax base, as the revenues it produces are critical to adequate city services. As Chicagoans head to the polls to pick their next mayor, there is heightened attention on the pressing need to shore up the city’s tax base and its property values. Meanwhile Baltimore is taking purposeful steps to fight property vacancies by preventing them from happening in the first place. In both cities, local decision-makers are focused on neighborhoods that have received little attention: middle neighborhoods. Chicago and Baltimore are just two examples of cities around the United States that are elevating the importance of the middle class and their communities into the national conversation. In a country increasingly defined by the extreme divergence between the most wealthy individuals and everyone else, the devastating effects of the disappearing middle are threatening the livelihoods of all.

Read the Full Report »

Growing Detroit’s African-American Middle Class: The Opportunity for a Prosperous Detroit

Detroit Future City

Detroit Future City is proud to introduce “Growing Detroit’s African-American Middle Class: The Opportunity for a Prosperous Detroit,” an in-depth look at the quantitative and qualitative aspects of African-American middle-class households and the value that the African-American middle class provides to communities.

Across the nation, there are more than 45 million middle-class households, of which 4.6 million are headed by African Americans. Detroit Future City (DFC) defines a middle-class household as one having an income between 80% and 200% of the national median household income. This translates to household incomes between $46,100 and $115,300 per year.

Detroit was especially important to the rise of the African-American middle class. Beginning in the early 1900s, Detroit, like many other major U.S. cities, became a magnet for African Americans, many of whom were moving north as part of the Great Migration in search of jobs. Although African-American manufacturing workers faced discrimination in hiring and promotions, Detroit’s economy still generated large numbers of good-paying jobs for blue-collar workers of all races.

Read the Full Report »