Neighborhood Profiles

In many cities, up to forty percent of residents live in middle neighborhoods, representing a major source of municipal fiscal health. Middle neighborhoods are a category of neighborhoods that are neither clearly healthy and thriving, nor overtly distressed. These neighborhoods, moreover, are not adequately serviced by the market or supportive public policies, nor are they beneficiaries of large-scale philanthropic support. As a result, in the face of colliding demographic, socio-economic, and market changes in cities and regions across the country, middle neighborhoods are steadily disappearing.

Around the nation, policymakers, community leaders, and researchers are mobilizing a groundswell of support to reverse this trend. Early results thus far are promising. Owing to the efforts of growing community of practice, there has been substantial progress documenting and sharing strategic interventions that stabilize and strengthen middle neighborhoods.

Organizations that have worked to broaden the typical range of community development services, offering services and resources that help to stabilize neighborhoods for current and future residents are listed below.

Old Brooklyn

Cleveland, OH

Neither trendy nor very poor, Cleveland’s Old Brooklyn neighborhood has largely been left out of the city’s conversation about its future growth. Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation’s middle neighborhood strategy includes community health and marketing programs such as block clubs, safety programs, and brand development and management. Other work by the CDC includes buying, rehabbing, and selling single-family homes. Old Brooklyn receives support from Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, a CDFI that supports a number of community development corporations in Cleveland.

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Baltimore, MD

Belair-Edison Neighborhoods adopted a strategic plan in 1999 as a response to the destabilizing factors of rapid racial transition, high rates of foreclosure, and a stagnant real estate market. There has been demonstrated success in facilitating homeownership loans, resident-led block projects, and large and small commercial building improvement projects. Belair-Edison receives support from Healthy Neighborhoods, Inc., a CDFI that supports 42 community development corporations in Baltimore.

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Rochester, NY

NeighborWorks Rochester’s middle neighborhoods strategy targets neighborhoods with increasing poverty concentration that falls short of HUD’s cut-off limits. The Triangle neighborhood’s success has been driven by a core group of active residents and members of the local merchants association who are working together to plan and implement social events, public space improvement projects, property improvement promotion efforts and neighborhood marketing strategies.

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Capitol Heights

Milwaukee, WI

Capitol Heights is working to build and strengthen social connections as a strategy for neighborhood stabilization. They are working closely with city council members to bring attention to resident concerns, such as home foreclosures and public safety. The neighborhood church is also an essential partner by providing space for community events. Capitol Heights receives support from Greater Milwaukee, a foundation that supports thirteen community-based organizations in Milwaukee.

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Avalon Park, Auburn Gresham, Chatham, and Greater Grand Crossing

Chicago, IL

Greater Chatham Initiative began as a re-branding strategy to align four South Side neighborhoods in Chicago, starting with a single point of engagement website for the collective community. Their work includes installing banners along key commercial corridors and distributing maps of over local retail and business-to-business firms. In addition to neighborhood development, Greater Chatham monitors its success through decreased unemployment and increased revenues for select businesses.

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Midtown, Central City, and Southeast Baltimore

Baltimore, MD

Jubilee Baltimore combines marketing and real estate development strategies to renovate homes, develop apartment buildings, and create commercial space. They emphasize the neighborhood’s historic architecture, growing arts scene, and regional cultural institutions to attract new residents, and often use federal and state historic tax credits to support their work. Jubilee receives support from Healthy Neighborhoods, Inc., a CDFI that supports 42 community development corporations in Baltimore.

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