Roberta Brandes Gratz

Journalist and urban critic

Roberta Brandes Gratz, award-winning journalist and urban critic, lecturer and author of The Living City: Thinking Small in a Big Way, and Cities Back from the Edge: New Life for Downtown. She is an international lecturer on urban development issues and former award-winning reporter for the New York Post. She also wrote a report in 2001 for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, A Frog, A Wooden House, A Stream and A Trail: Ten Years of Community Revitalization in Central Europe.

Her newest book, The Battle For Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs was published in 2010.

Ms. Gratz was appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission in 2003.

In 2005, in collaboration with Jane Jacobs, Ms. Gratz and a small group of accomplished urbanists founded The Center For the Living City to advance Jacobs’ work.

Ms. Gratz’ articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, The Nation, Tikkun, Planning Magazine, New York Newsday, the Daily News, Planning Commissioners Journal and others. And her writing has been translated into Japanese, Russian, Czech, German and Polish. She travels frequently all over the U.S., Central Europe, Japan and Great Britain to lecture and consult on urban revitalization issues.

Recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Surdna Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Fannie Mae Foundation, and writing awards from the American Institute of Architects, American Planning Assn, Municipal Art Society, the New York Press Club, the City Club of New York and others.

Gratz is Trustee and former head of Public Policy of the New York State Preservation League; former Vice-President of the Salzburg Conference on Urban Planning and Development; founder and President Emeritus of the Eldridge Street Project, the effort to restore the historic Eldridge Street Synagogue on the Lower East Side and to establish a Jewish Heritage Center on the site; a founder and current board member of the Writers Room, the first urban writers' colony in the country.

She is a native and resident of New York City.

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