On the Edge


Middle Neighborhoods

On the Edge: America’s Middle Neighborhoods (2016), edited by Paul C. Brophy, aims to stimulate a national dialogue about middle neighborhoods. Presented in a series of case studies and essays by leading policymakers, community development professionals, and scholars, this volume explores the complex web of communities transitioning—for better or worse—across the US. The shrinking middle class as well as growing income segregation and inequality in the US is the backdrop for this publication.

Authors of On the Edge provide ideas for action and advocate for new and innovative community, housing, and education policies to better support on-the-edge neighborhoods and create opportunities for the millions of people who live in them. Download the book here.

Themed “Building Advocacy for Middle Neighborhoods,” the 2018 working group meeting, held in Cleveland, OH was a follow-up to the first national meeting on middle neighborhood stabilization in Baltimore and publication of On the Edge.

About the Editor

Paul C. Brophy is a principal with Brophy & Reilly LLC, a Maryland-based consulting firm specializing in economic development in older industrial cities, mixed-income housing, neighborhood revitalization, and currently serves on the Adjunct Faculty of the Urban & Regional Planning Program at Georgetown University. Mr. Brophy has been involved with the challenges facing older industrial cities since 1970 as a public official, a practitioner, an author, and a professor. Read more →


  • Henry CisnerosFormer Secretary of U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Founder and Chairman, CityView

    “Many attributes define the health of cities – economic strength, unemployment levels, cultural amenities, and physical attractiveness – but they all should manifest themselves in quality places to live. In that sense, sustaining decent, safe, and livable neighborhoods is the most basic purpose of a city. Preserving and enhancing a city’s middle neighborhoods is not peripheral strategy; it must be at the heart of efforts to strengthen a city. Paul Brophy has assembled a group of experts who have effectively identified the challenges, underscored the importance, and offered solid prescriptions for capitalizing on the urban assets which are the middle neighborhoods.”

  • Nancy CantorChancellor, Rutgers University, Newark

    “Is America a land of opportunity anymore? Can families who strive for educational achievement, home ownership, job security, and healthy lives, find a place in our cities today? Middle neighborhoods, the subject of this terrifically thoughtful volume, sit critically in the center of that landscape. The essays in this volume speak convincingly from the force of on-the-ground experience that middle neighborhoods can spearhead the broader effort to recapture America’s opportunity map. It is a must read at a time when it is too facile to give up and too urgent to wait to invest.”

  • Tom BarrettMayor, City of Milwaukee

    "Anyone familiar with American cities will recognize middle neighborhoods. They are important components of diverse and changing urban settings. This book offers enlightening observations, analysis, and advice on middle neighborhoods that are useful to policy-makers, academics, urbanists, and city residents."