Michael Perles is an urban planner and organizer with an interest in permanently affordable and decommodified housing, land use equity, and environmental justice. As a Project Manager, he supports Hester Street’s efforts in capacity building, community engagement, facilitation, and public sector institutional knowledge for city and state projects. He comes to Hester Street from the New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD), where he was most recently a policy analyst implementing local and state laws that affect the HPD portfolio of affordable housing units in New York City. Prior to HPD, he worked at WXY Studio, Philip Habib and Associates, and at the Columbia University Earth Institute.

In addition to professional work, Michael served on his local Community Board for three years, sits on the board of the Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association (the deeply affordable housing co-op on top of the Cooper Square CLT, NYC’s oldest community land trust) and organizes to build tenant power with Housing Justice for All, NYC-DSA, and the Broome Street Tenants Alliance.

Michael holds an M.S. in Urban Planning from Columbia University, where he researched public housing typologies in Berlin and Tokyo and completed his thesis on grassroots, climate-focused tenant organizations within the New York City Housing Authority. He also holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of Michigan, where his concentration was in Urban Systems Design, Policy and Law. He lives on the Lower East Side.