MITCHELL SILVER 

NYC Parks

SAY IT LOUD - NOW Exhibitor

New York Based Designer

Who or what inspires you professionally?

People inspire me. I feel that as a planner I have the unique obligation of being a guardian of the future. There is a great deal of uncertainty about the future. So I try to anticipate emerging issues and trends so I can help the public prepare for the possible implications of those changes. 

MITCHELL SILVER

Bio:

NYC Parks Commissioner

To protect the public interest and maintain an outstanding quality of life for present and future generations by advocating strong leadership and sound planning practices.

Specialties: Project management, visioning, neighborhood planning, implementation strategies, negotiation and consensus-building, public participation. 

How did you first learn about architecture and when did you decide that built environment profession was an area of interest for you?

My first love of the built environment occurred during the 1964 World’s Fair when I saw the Panorama – a scaled model of the entire City of New York. That started my love for buildings. I started drawing buildings at a young age. After high school, I decided to apply to Pratt Institute for Architecture. I pursued a combined degree of Architecture and City and Regional Planning. While I did not become a licensed architect, but I did use my degree to become an urban designer and urban planner.

What do you do?

I am currently the commissioner of the Department of Parks and Recreation. I oversee a park system that includes 30,000 acres of parkland and over 5,000 park assets that include parks, playgrounds, recreation centers, public beaches, concessions, marinas, street trees to name of few. I also oversee a capital projects division that consists of architects, landscape architects, engineers and surveyors that design, plan and supervise the construction of over 130 projects annually. As of June of 2020, NYC Parks completed over 700 capital projects under my tenure.   

What excites you in the work you do?

Implementing ideas and projects that improve the lives of the people, particularly in communities that have been neglected for decades.  

 

Who or what inspires you professionally?

People inspire me. I feel that as a planner I have the unique obligation of being a guardian of the future. There is a great deal of uncertainty about the future. So I try to anticipate emerging issues and trends so I can help the public prepare for the possible implications of those changes. 

 

What is your proudest professional accomplishment or achievement?

I came up with a vision for the creation of the Harlem Piers Park that was slated to be developed with a large commercial building. The complex would have blocked the community’s only access to the Harlem River. The plan gained momentum with the support of community advocates and elected officials. The park was ultimately built. The park not only is a vibrant public space, but was the catalyst for the rejuvenation of the West Harlem area. 

Featured Project Name: 

Raleigh Union Station

 

Featured Project Location: 

Raleigh, NC

Featured Project Completion Date: 

Opened April 2018, Amtrak Service started in July 2018.

Role in Featured Project: 

I was the visionary that led the effort to create a new transit hub in Downtown Raleigh. I resurrected a multi-modal transportation plan that had failed twice to gain support, funding or momentum. As planning director, I developed a new vision, the name “Raleigh Union Station” and developed the plan to consolidate several modes of transportation in a new downtown hub and the redevelopment of an older industrial area surrounding Raleigh Union Station called the Warehouse District.  

 

Featured Project Description:

The City of Raleigh and NCDOT have constructed a new train station in the city’s downtown Warehouse District to accommodate current and future demand for intercity passenger rail, commuter rail, buses, taxis, bicycles and other forms of transportation - Raleigh Union Station (RUS). There are now four daily round-trip trains available from Raleigh to Charlotte.

 

Photography Credit:

Mitchell Silver 

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