A Study of Baltimore, Maryland, 1968-1970 The low-income housing situation in American cities is becoming steadily worse, Michael Stegman asserts, and solving housing problems with new construction is "economically inefficient" as well as "politically intolerable." This study seeks approaches that would combine the strengths and capacities of private investment with those of the public sector to achieve satisfactory housing for all low-income families in a reasonable period of time. Although the question has often been debated, Stegman points out that no inquiry into low-income housing problems can afford to ignore the underlying market forces at work in the inner city. No one has consulted the so-called slumlord or made use of his intimate knowledge of the operations of the inner-city real estate market in developing low-income housing policies. "How many of them are competent and responsible property managers who should be encouraged and assisted in their efforts?" he asks. "What proportion are simply speculators who would turn public programs to prop up the inner city into windfall profits? Under what circumstances, if any, would they improve their properties voluntarily? Should housing policy attempt to phase them out of the picture or enlarge their role? These questions can no longer be ignored...." Housing Investment in the Inner City begins by discussing the salient characteristics of Baltimore's inner-city landlords—their personalities, motivations, methods of operation, market sophistication, organizational skills—and the housing situation of low-income families. It then examines the operations of the inner-city housing market, analyzing cash flow statements for properties of different levels of quality in an attempt to identify what determines economic success or failure. For the first time, problems of both tenant and landlord are seen in a common framework as the question arises, How does increased tenant activism affect housing quality? Chapters in the book also focus on the demand for low-income home ownership and on nonprofit rehabilitation efforts. This study sets up no fullblown solutions but rather presents a synthesis of the many ways in which city housing and related activities affect the nature of the inner-city housing market and investment climate in a large city which suffers complex urban problems, yet which is small enough to be understood and managed. From this particular experience, Stegman makes general recommendations aimed at leveling off the declining housing market and firming up the investment climate, while improving inner-city management capabilities.