Working with national & local partners for America’s Middle Neighborhoods, longstanding stable communities for middle and working class families that today are often teetering on the edge between growth or decline.

A young Black boy holds a paper up in front of a house

The Middle Neighborhoods Initiative brings attention to neighborhoods that have been homes to middle and working class families, and now are on edge between growth and decline. 


Modest investments in middle neighborhoods can sustain these communities as safe, affordable places that offer a high quality of life and access to opportunity. 


NCST coordinates national Middle Neighborhoods activities in partnership with NeighborWorks America, including conducting research on neighborhood dynamics and developing policy proposals for supporting and investing in middle neighborhoods.


Sign up for Middle Neighborhoods’ next webinar, or sign up to receive their monthly newsletter. Both highlight best practices from the practitioners, researchers, and policymakers who are influencing middle neighborhoods throughout America.

Middle Neighborhoods Webinars, Best Practices and Newsletters

The middle neighborhoods team offers free monthly webinars on key topics to help strengthen and protect the middle neighborhoods in our communities.

Below are the webinar registrations for the upcoming months and links to previous webinars.

REGISTER – Tuesday, November 28th 12:00-1:30 PM Eastern


Senior residents are vital to middle neighborhoods. They often account for a large part of the high homeownership rates in middle neighborhoods, and bring leadership and stability to neighborhood life. The number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to nearly double from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million by 2060, at which point the 65-and-older age group’s share of the total population will rise from 16 percent to 23 percent. Many practitioners are building strategies to retain and support senior neighbors so they can continue to thrive in their middle neighborhoods.


In this webinar, middle neighborhood practitioners will share their strategies for assisting senior residents with a variety of housing options:


  • One of the longest-running and most successful rehab-retrofit programs in the nation
  • Custom supports to seniors within a larger high-quality, affordable rental portfolio
  • New construction of senior housing that also repurposes obsolete commercial buildings or sites
  • Other supports such as mortgage safety, property tax exemptions and estate planning that help seniors maintain their current housing


There will be time for Q&A and discussion on assembling the right mix of strategies through program development and partnerships.



Chelsey Miller, Director of Property Management, Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services, Ithaca, NY

Joshua Sankowski, Director of Corporate Partnerships, Pathstone Corporation, Rochester, NY

Tiffany Smith, Associate Director of Southside Neighborhood Services & Operations, Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Delia Yarrow, Director of Lending, Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services, Ithaca, NY



Marcia Nedland, Organizer, Middle Neighborhoods Community of Practice



Previous Middle Neighborhoods webinars are broken into 5 different groups:

  • Research
  • Housing
  • Business
  • Community Engagement
  • Equity

The Community of Practice publishes six best practices per year highlighting the work of its members.

More updates will be provided for the newsletter section; stay tuned!


The Middle Neighborhoods Community of Practice is an informal, facilitated network of practitioners, researchers, and policymakers working in the field to strengthen middle neighborhoods

The primary purpose of the Community of Practice (CoP) is to facilitate peer-to-peer learning and technical assistance opportunities among practitioners working to stabilize and strengthen middle neighborhoods.  The CoP also provides input to researchers and policymakers and builds support for middle neighborhood work.  The CoP’s work takes place primarily through newsletters, webinars, peer introductions, site visits, focus groups, and direct communication on the CoP listserv.  The CoP has also hosted annual in-person convenings, which will resume in future years.

  1. Join and participate in the Listserv. This is the most direct way for CoP members to interact with each other. Share your questions and successes.
  2. Submit an article, news item, or resource idea for the newsletter to Marcia.
  3. Host a Middle Neighborhoods 101 webinar for people in your organization or community to help them learn about middle neighborhoods and launch a discussion on local opportunities.  We will help you plan this and deliver the webinar with you.
  4. Submit an idea for a webinar topic to Marcia
  5. Convene (virtually until in-person meetings are advisable) other CoP members in your region to discuss a particular issue, or to start creating a regional action agenda. Marcia can help you contact your peers and plan your convening.
  6. We can also help you convene a group of CoP members by interest rather than geography.  Past convenings have included city government representatives.
  7. Represent middle neighborhoods in local policy discussions.  Access some talking points here.
  8. Propose and conduct a session on middle neighborhoods for conferences and other convenings or groups you participate in. We’ll help with the proposal, recruiting panelists, planning, etc.

Middle Neighborhoods members publish reports, research, policy briefs, and articles—and conduct webinars and events—to help equip communities around the country with the information they need to begin or refine interventions and investments in their middle neighborhoods.  Resource materials are available to download free of charge below. 

Please feel free to link to any of these publications to share with others, but do not upload the publications to any other public website or forum without written permission of Middle Neighborhoods. For additional information or to request such permission, contact Marcia Nedland at [email protected].


Join the CoP Google group


Middle Neighborhoods created a map-based tool for understanding the breadth and location of middle neighborhoods in cities and suburbs across the country

Middle neighborhoods are a category of neighborhoods that are neither clearly healthy and thriving, nor overtly distressed.  Millions of middle- and working-class families in cities and suburbs across the nation call middle neighborhoods home.  But despite their prevalence, and the energy being poured into stabilizing and revitalizing these neighborhoods, there is not clear agreement on how to define middle neighborhoods.  What, exactly, are middle neighborhoods, and what are they in the middle of?  And how can we reliably identify middle neighborhoods in the communities where we live and work? 


To shed light on how to define middle neighborhoods, the NCST has created a nationwide map that allows users to explore the communities where middle-income households live.  

The map allows users to select among seven different definitions of middle neighborhoods, each of which identifies middle neighborhood census tracts within metropolitan areas based on their median household incomes. The seven definitions are:


  • City Test #1: Census tracts with median household incomes between 60 and 100 percent of the region’s largest city’s city-wide median household income
  • City Test #2: Tracts between 80 and 120 percent of city-wide median
  • National Test #1: Tracts between 60 and 100 percent of national median household income ($60,293 in 2018; $51,914 in 2010 )
  • National Test #2: Tracts between 80 and 120 percent of national median
  • Regional Test #1: Tracts between 60 and 100 percent of regional (MSA) median household income
  • Regional Test #2: Tracts between 80 and 120 percent of regional median
  • Regional Test #3: Tracts between 100 and 160 percent of regional median


We plan to update this map over time, including by incorporating data from earlier decades.  If you have any suggestions, questions, or comments about the map, please reach out to [email protected].  The current map is the release version 1.0. 

Data sources: All income, social, and economic data from 2014-2018 and 2006-2010 American Community Survey (5-year ACS) Estimates.  Each census tract was assigned to an MSA using FHFA’s 2020 Low-Income Areas file.  City-wide incomes are based on the MSA’s Principal City identified in Census Bureau’s March 2020 Principal Cities of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas file.  It is important to note that ACS home price and rent data is respondent estimated.


Learn more about Middle Neighborhoods and the conditions that allow these communities to thrive

Middle Neighborhoods: Action Agenda for a National Movement

Over fifty leaders met with researchers and government representatives to examine policies, approaches, and strategies to strengthen neighborhoods poised between stability and distress. The report highlights three working groups' priorities regarding practice, research, and policy.

America’s Middle Neighborhoods: Setting the Stage for Revival

This publication aims to provide a comprehensive framework to think about the growing challenges faced by the middle neighborhoods of America's legacy cities and their inner-ring suburbs. This document closes with key strategies for revival of middle neighborhoods.

The Future of America’s Middle Neighborhoods

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.

On the Edge: America’s Middle Neighborhoods

On the Edge: America’s Middle Neighborhoods (2016) aims to stimulate a national dialogue about middle neighborhoods. With case studies and essays from leaders, this volume explores the complex web of communities transitioning—for better or worse—across the US' shrinking middle class.


Community of Practice Co-Chairs

Nedra Sims Fears, Executive Director

Greater Chatham Initiative

Chicago, Illinois



Jeff Verespej, Chief of Staff & Operations

Cleveland Neighborhood Progress

Cleveland, Ohio


Lead Organizer

Marcia Nedland

National Steering Committee
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