Smart growth stories: New York City Councilmember Brad Lander on building better neighborhoods with community participation

Where does change come from? Who comes up with the ideas and proposals needed to reinvigorate neighborhoods?

Ask New York City Councilmember Brad Lander and he’ll tell you.

“The community.”

To Lander, who has represented the 39th district of Brooklyn on the New York City Council since 2009, community involvement and outreach aren’t just buzzwords. They’re a source of the best inspiration and help shed light on the real reasons to move forward with any project; those that live in a community tend to know what’s best for that community.

In the 39th district – which encompasses the neighborhoods of Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Columbia Waterfront, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Borough Park and Kensington – Lander hears the concerns of a racially and economically diverse constituency. From young urban-dwellers with higher education degrees to working-class immigrants, Brooklyn – like the rest of New York – has it all. For Lander to do his job successfully he must find ways to integrate planned improvements and Council agenda items with the personal goals of the people who elected him.

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Smart growth news – September 28

Increased demand driving new development in Las Vegas’ core
Las Vegas Sun, September 27, 2011
“I have a stack of buyers who want to buy downtown,” he says, listing them by occupation — a federal public defender, electrical engineer, museum curator, federal prosecutor, schoolteacher and artist, exotic dancer, freelance writer, Las Vegas city employee, a Zappos employee. “This is the creative class, that’s who’s contacting me,” he said. “These are Baby Boomers whose kids are grown so they want to move downtown; these are people who don’t want to live in the ’burbs anymore.”

For Strapped Cities, a ‘New Normal’
Wall Street Journal, September 27, 2011
City finance managers project that general-fund revenues will decline 2.3% this year, the fifth straight decline, according to a survey released Tuesday by the National League of Cities. Spending will decline 1.9% this year, a second straight drop.

MTA Puts More on the Block
Wall Street Journal, September 27, 2011
As part of a months-long review of its real estate, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to put nine more properties on the block, including the mostly empty building in Downtown Brooklyn that has long angered the borough’s politicians, the agency said Monday.

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