Posts

Setting the Stage to Revive America’s Middle Neighborhoods

November 19, 2018 | Next City

By Alan Mallach

Author Alan Mallach analyzes the challenges of changing demographics, aging housing stock and increased income inequality in America’s legacy cities, particularly for African-American neighborhoods in those cities.

The dramatic rise of American industry in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries drew millions of workers into U.S. cities, triggering the expansion of the nation’s urban middle and industrial working classes. Across the country, “middle neighborhoods” sprang up to house these middle-income households: blocks of single-family homes connected by busy arterial streets, with businesses, houses of worship, public schools, and distinct ethnic or racial identities that sustained a social fabric paralleling their physical form.

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Support Middle Neighborhoods with a Federal Investment in Home Rehab

By Julia Gordon & Theo Chang

Neither rich nor poor. Neither gentrifying nor in steep decline. “Middle neighborhoods” have recently captured the attention of community development circles (and are the subject of ongoing coverage in Next City). These neighborhoods, broadly defined as areas with households earning 80 to 120 percent of the area median income, currently face a growing number of challenges. One glaring challenge is age — while homeownership rates are high, houses in middle neighborhoods are often quite old, and residents tend to have fewer resources for upkeep.

We work in a number of cities with many middle neighborhoods, connecting foreclosed homes to community housing organizations that will acquire and properly rehabilitate those homes. For example, in the city of Baltimore, Maryland, more than half of residents live in middle neighborhoods. As is the case in many of the cities along the East Coast, three-quarters of the homes in Baltimore were built before 1960.

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How Communities of Practice Make a Difference in Middle Neighborhoods

October 22, 2018 | Next City

By Oscar Perry Abello

Not quite thriving, not quite distressed and ignored by policymakers, middle neighborhoods look to community development groups for support and stability. A look at the programs that can improve outcomes in these precarious places.

The story of Chatham, on the South Side of Chicago, while unique in many ways, can also sound familiar to those in neighborhoods of cities all across the country. Families moved here from far away, often fleeing violence and oppression. Parents found good paying, steady jobs. They put down roots and purchased homes. Children grew up with encouragement from parents, teachers, relatives and friends, some of them going on to Ivy League colleges and illustrious professional careers.

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Making the Case for America’s Middle Neighborhoods

September 24, 2018 | Next City

By Kelly Regan, Next City and Stephanie Sung, The American Assembly,
with research by Brianna Williams

Today, nearly half of all residents of U.S. cities live in a middle neighborhood. It’s not a place where real estate is hot, where prices skyrocket and cause displacement. Nor is it a place in distress, overwhelmed by vacancy and neglect. Middle neighborhoods are racially and socioeconomically diverse, historically home to working- and middle-class families. They provide critical opportunities for upward mobility.

Some are stable. Some are threatened by gentrification. Yet many more are at a great risk of tipping into decline.

Neighborhoods are, by nature, constantly in flux. So why does it matter that middle neighborhoods are disappearing?

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