New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently appointed alumnus Mitchell J. Silver to head the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation. As parks commissioner, Silver will oversee 29,000 acres of parkland and 1,900 parks.
Silver received a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Pratt Institute in 1987, and specializes in comprehensive planning, land use planning, and implementation strategies. He most recently served as the chief planning and development officer and planning director for Raleigh, N.C., where he led a comprehensive plan to modernize the city.
“I am honored to return to my hometown as Parks Commissioner. I look forward to helping New York City create a twenty-first-century park system that is equitable, innovative, healthy, and safe. I am confident the planning and design skills I developed at Pratt Institute will prove invaluable as I take this new and exciting role,” said Silver.
Silver, who was interviewed by Gateway in 2010, brings a broad range of knowledge and experience to his new role. He is a former president of the American Planning Association—the prestigious 40,000-member organization of urban and regional planners—and has also served as a top official in the Office of Planning in Washington, D.C.
As his friend and former colleague John Shapiro, chair of Pratt’s Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment, said, “Mitchell Silver has the ideal background for running parks—an architecture degree from Pratt, a planning degree from Hunter, a history of public service running public agencies, and a successful track record as the nation’s top planner. He has played an important role in shaping and improving the public spaces that impact the lives of communities and their overall quality of life.”
The New York Times published a piece about the new parks commissioner’s first day on the job, “New Parks Chief Brings a City Planner’s Vision.” To read the article, click here.
Text: Marion Hammon, Ruth Samuelson
Image: Diana Pau