Even as Living Cities changes, America's urban neighborhoods stay in view

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A "Reporter Analysis" Evaluation Feature
Publication Date


To support Living Cities’ programs, which have funded affordable housing and related community development since 1991 in the neglected urban cores of 23 U.S. cities, including four Knight Communities – Detroit, St. Paul, Philadelphia and Miami. Knight Foundation has provided $22.2 million in grant making to Living Cities over time.

Approach: The reporter analysis involved extensive document reviews, and interviews with residents, project staff and community leaders.

Report Partner: The report was produced by Martin Merzer.


  • Changes at Living Cities – The report highlights the shifts in Living Cities toward a more holistic effort beyond supporting affordable housing to improve the total environment surrounding residents of deteriorating urban neighborhoods – including quality of life issues such as education, health care, financial literacy and job training and availability.
  • Despite some Setbacks, Significant Physical Improvements – Living Cities has directly supported the creation of 40,743 housing units in Living Cities’ 23 target cities – 7,845 in four Knight communities.

Projects discussed in this publication

Living Cities

To support Living Cities and the Integration Initiative, a multidisciplinary focus on both neighborhood and system transformation in five cities, including St. Paul and Detroit

Living Cities

To support an education and outreach initiative to facilitate the integration of law enforcement into urban policy at the federal and local level

Living Cities

To support the start-up of the Admiral Community Impact Center. The center will advise professional athletes who want to give back to their communities, providing them with marketing support and helping them find the nonprofits that match their goals

Living Cities

To expand and deepen a collaborative investment to improve urban neighborhoods in 23 communities

About our Communities focus area

We invest in civic innovators who help cities attract and keep talented people, expand economic opportunity and create a culture of engagement.

About our Reporter analysis series methodology

Knight Foundation commissions independent journalists to write articles reviewing its grant-making and program strategies.