The Future of America’s Middle Neighborhoods

By Alan Mallach, Senior Fellow, Center for Community Progress

This policy brief was prepared by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, middle neighborhoods sprang up to house middle-income families drawn to U.S. cities by the dramatic rise of industry. Today, middle neighborhoods in “magnet” cities like Seattle, Washington, or Washington, DC, have seen impressive revival or gentrification, but, in legacy cities like Baltimore, Maryland, or Cleveland, Ohio, they often face decline. Often overlooked, middle neighborhoods matter—both to the people who live in them and to their cities and regions—and solutions demand engagement not only from the neighborhood itself but also from the city, region, and state. Nothing less than the fate of millions of people and dozens of cities lies in the balance.