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K-State Today

January 13, 2015



NYC commissioner to speak as part of MLK Observance Week

By Thom Jackson

Commissioner Silver

New York City Commissioner of Parks and Recreation Mitchell J. Silver will speak as part of K-State's Martin Luther King Jr. Observance Week. The lecture will kick off the College of Architecture, Planning & Design's Distinguished Lecture Series.

Commissioner Silver will deliver his lecture "Planning in the 21st Century — What's Next?" at 4 p.m. Jan. 20 in the K-State Student Union's Forum Hall. All are welcome to attend.

Silver became commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation in May 2014. Silver also is the immediate past president of the American Planning Association. He is an award-winning planner with almost 30 years of experience and he is internationally recognized for his leadership in the planning profession and his contributions to contemporary planning issues. He specializes in comprehensive planning, place making and implementation strategies. As parks commissioner, Silver oversees management, planning and operations of nearly 30,000 acres of parkland that includes 13 golf courses, 695 tennis courts, 14 miles of beaches and 650,000 street trees, parks, playgrounds, marinas, recreation centers, wilderness areas and other assets.

"I believe in the anatomy of a place, of a city," Silver said. "Parks are a system within a city. They are connected to culture. They are connected to traditions and memories, the economy, the natural systems. As a planner, I take a very different view of parks, as not just a green space but a public space."

Tim de Noble, professor and dean of the College of Architecture, Planning & Design said, "We are very privileged to have Commissioner Silver, a world-renowned expert in charge of one of the nation's largest parks and recreation systems presenting to our university about how public spaces serve one of the world's most culturally diverse populations."

Prior to returning to his native New York City as parks commissioner, Silver served as the chief planning and development officer and planning director for Raleigh, North Carolina. His career has included roles as a policy and planning director for New York City's Department of Planning, a principal of a New York City-based planning firm, a town manager in New Jersey, and deputy planning director in Washington, D.C.

"Mitch Silver is a dynamic speaker who is passionate about city planning and creating wonderful communities," said Stephanie Rolley, professor and department head for landscape architecture and regional & community planning. "Commissioner Silver's professional accomplishments demonstrate the power of planning and design. We are honored to have him visit Kansas State."