Lavea Brachman currently serves as Vice President of Programs at the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, located in Detroit, Michigan and dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Southeast Michigan and Western New York regions, where she manages the foundation’s program areas of workforce development, economic development, and community access and design.
Brachman is a recognized expert on urban policy and practice, focusing on the older industrial cities that dominate the Midwest and Northeast of the United States. For almost a decade, she served as a founder and executive director of the Greater Ohio Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank and policy organization located in Columbus, Ohio advancing urban revitalization and sustainable growth throughout the state. In Spring 2016, Brachman was a Resident Fellow at The University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics, selected from an internationally competitive pool of candidates. Brachman has held working fellowships with national think tanks, including the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, the German Marshall Fund and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.
In addition to speaking widely, Brachman writes on a range of revitalization issues pertaining to older cities, including infrastructure, community, neighborhood, and economic redevelopment challenges and solutions. Brachman has conducted field work in older cities across the United States and worked internationally to identify best practices that lead to positive regeneration, including in Manchester, England; the Ruhr Valley, Berlin, and Leipzig in Germany; Barcelona, Spain; and Lisbon, Portugal.
After practicing environmental law at Beveridge and Diamond, PC in Washington, DC, Brachman was a partner at a consulting firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts advising Fortune 500 companies on brownfield property reuse and served in the Clinton Administration’s Department of Energy developing future land reuse policies for old nuclear facility sites. Before founding the Greater Ohio Policy Center, Brachman worked at the Delta Institute, a Chicago-based non-profit organization focused on sustainability issues in the Great Lakes states. She has also taught urban policy courses as an adjunct professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and The Ohio State University.
Brachman also serves on several community boards, including Columbus School for Girls, ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, and Harvard Hillel.
Growing up in Columbus, Ohio, Brachman holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College, and received a law degree from The University of Chicago Law School and a master’s degree from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.