Divided City | Poverty and Prosperity in Urban America By Alan Mallach

Washington, DC (May 1, 2022)—The factories may be gone, but millennials are flocking to affordable, once-industrial cities like Baltimore, Detroit, and Pittsburgh. Areas like Cleveland’s University Circle and Washington Avenue in St. Louis are throbbing with energy and excitement. But beneath that excitement hides a painful reality. Alongside their revival, these cities are turning into places of growing inequality, where small, glittering enclaves of prosperity are ringed by larger areas of decline, and where millions are relegated to lives of poverty and hopelessness.

The Divided City (Publication Date: June 12, 2022) tells the real story of both the revival and the growing inequality in America’s older industrial cities, and examines whether, as they continue to grow, they can again become the places of hope and opportunity they once were. Combining big-picture analysis and research with the nitty-gritty reality of these cities drawn from the author’s years of working in and studying them, Alan Mallach—a leading authority on economics and urban revitalization—offers an essential contribution to our understanding of American cities.

Divided city cover

The Divided City weaves together economics, demographic research, public policy, and politics to show how the cities have come to where they are today, tackling the hard issues of race, power and money, and showing how each contributes to shaping these cities’ reality. Mallach also tells the stories of local leaders working to breathe new life into disinvested, struggling neighborhoods, and some of the remarkable schools and workforce programs that have turned around people’s lives. At the same time, he grapples with the

tough questions of why some have not succeeded, and why others, while successful at a small scale, have not been adopted widely enough to truly move the needle forward.

The book closes with Mallach’s vision for a path forward toward inclusion and opportunity. He looks practically at how we can make inclusion and opportunity a reality, and makes concrete recommendations in topics ranging from job creation and education to affordable housing and improving the quality of life in high-poverty areas.

Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation praised The Divided City, calling it “an essential read for anyone who wants to understand how the forces of structural inequality shape the cities we know and love, and what tools we have as policymakers, nonprofits, and residents to make our cities more just, equal places to live.”

In the spirit of Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law and Matthew Desmond’s Evicted, The Divided City is a compelling analysis that makes a powerful case for change. It is imperative not just for those living and working in America’s once-industrial cities, but for anyone who cares about issues of affordability, gentrification, equality, and—ultimately—fulfilling the promise of the American Dream.

Alan Mallach is a senior fellow at the Center for Community Progress in Washington DC. A city planner, advocate and writer, he is widely known for his work on housing, economic development, and urban revitalization. A former director of housing & economic development in Trenton, New Jersey, and a former non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, he teaches in the graduate city planning program at Pratt Institute.

Founded in 1984, Island Press works to stimulate, shape, and communicate the information that is essential for solving environmental problems. Today, with more than 1,000 titles in print and some 30 new releases each year, it is the nation’s leading publisher of books on environmental issues. Island Press is driving change by moving ideas from the printed page to public discourse and practice. Island Press’s emphasis is, and will continue to be, on transforming objective information into understanding and action. For more information and further updates be sure to visit www.islandpress.org.

Leave a Comment