Making the Comeback: Reversing the Downward Trajectory of African American Middle Neighborhoods in Legacy Cities

By Alan Mallach, Senior Fellow, Center for Community Progress

This report was prepared by Center for Community Progress in partnership
with the 
Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

Read the full report on the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy’s website.

In this report, Alan Mallach examines trends in Black middle neighborhoods in six legacy cities between 2000 and 2018 and identify strategies for their stabilization and revival. Mallach finds that both socio-economic and housing market conditions in those urban neighborhoods that were predominately Black and middle income in 2000 have declined sharply in the two decades since then compared to predominately white middle-income neighborhoods in the same cities. In addition to the accumulated effects of racially invidious policies and practices, these neighborhoods’ decline reflects the disparate effects of the foreclosure crisis and the Great Recession, but even more the shortfall of homebuyer demand relative to supply since then, which has led to a loss of homeowners, property deterioration and abandonment. Mallach analyzes the reasons for that shortfall and presents a multifaceted framework for stabilization and revival of these neighborhoods which is grounded in the goals of strengthening quality of life and rebuilding housing markets, in order to both draw new homebuyers and motivate existing residents to remain.