Brad Lander is a New York City Council Member representing Brooklyn’s 39th District, and a leader on issues of affordable housing, livable communities, the environment, and public education.
Named one of “Today's Social Justice Heroes” by The Nation magazine, Lander is the Council's Deputy Leader for Policy, and chairs the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Elections.
Brad's role as founding co-chair of the Council’s Progressive Caucus, and a leader in efforts to advance at City Hall, was covered by The New York Times ("An Unassuming Liberal Makes a Rapid Ascent to Power Broker"). Brad has fought successfully to reform discriminatory practices in the NYPD (including establishing the first NYPD Inspector General), win living wage jobs and paid sick days for low-wage workers workers, to protect manufacturing jobs in New York City, and to reform tax and zoning regulations to create affordable housing for low-income and working class New Yorkers.
Brad brings the values he learned as a community organizer to the City Council. He believes the best way to govern is to empower residents to make key decisions about the future of their community, including convening public visioning sessions to plan the renovations of neighborhood parks and partnering with residents develop solutions to local problems. Lander was one of the first councilmembers to bring “participatory budgeting” to his district, (now in its fourth year) giving residents the power to decide which projects to support with their tax dollars. The "Bridging Gowanus" community planning process he initiated brings that spirit of participation into planning for a Brooklyn community in need of a comprehensive plan to shape infrastructure and land-use decisions. He has also been a leader on issues of livable streets and transit, helping to advance pedestrian safety and bike infrastructure in his district and around the city.
Lander was elected to the City Council in 2009, and reelected in 2013, running on the Democratic and Working Families Party lines, to represent the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Columbia Waterfront, Gowanus, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Borough Park, and Kensington.
Prior to serving in the City Council, Brad directed the Pratt Center for Community Development and the Fifth Avenue Committee. At Pratt, he led many successful community-planning efforts, as well as campaigns to expand affordable housing and create NYC’s “inclusionary zoning” program, which requires developers seeking tax breaks to set aside 20 percent of their units for low and moderate income families and pay a living wage to their service workers.
In ten years leading the Fifth Avenue Committee, a nationally-recognized community development organization, Brad redeveloped dozens of neighborhood buildings facing abandonment after the real estate recession of the early 1990s to create and preserve affordable housing, established innovative programs to address gentrification, launched job training and economic development programs, and pioneered a successful re-entry program for people returning to the community from prison.
Lander is a founding board member of Local Progress, a new national network of progressive municipal elected officials, and is on the boards of Democratic Municipal Officials and Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council. His work has been recognized with awards from the Ford Foundation, Fannie Mae Foundation, Do Something, American Planning Association, Streetsblog, Lambda Independent Democrats, the Prospect Park YMCA, and New York Magazine.
Brad holds a Masters in City and Regional Planning from Pratt Institute, a Masters in Social Anthropology from University College London, and a Bachelor’s degree with honors from the University of Chicago.
Lander lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn with his wife, Meg Barnette, the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Planned Parenthood NYC, and their children, Marek and Rosa.
What does your neighborhood need? An improved park? Safer streets? New school technology? In participatory budgeting, you give your ideas and City Councilmember Brad Lander has set aside $1 million to fund them. And your votes will decide which projects get funded.