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.

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