Mitchell Silver has been commissioner for the New York City Parks Department since May 2014,[1] and a job that brought him back to his hometown. Previously, he served as chief Planning and Development Officer and Planning Director for the City of Raleigh, North Carolina. He was president of the American Planning Association (APA) between 2011 and 2013, the first African American to hold the title.[2]

In Raleigh, Silver directed a staff of 230 employees in the Departments of City Planning, Community Development and Inspections, in addition to four offices: Transportation Planning, Economic Development, Development Services, and the City's Urban Design Center. Silver served on the City's Executive Leadership team with the City Manager, Assistant City Managers, CFO and CIO. Silver led the comprehensive plan update process in Raleigh and oversaw a rewrite of the Development Code.[3]

Prior to his time in Raleigh, he held roles as a policy and planning director for the Manhattan Borough President’s office, a city planner for the 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, DC.

Silver lectures extensively throughout the United States and abroad on a variety of planning topics. He is a contributing author and editor of the [International City/County Management Association’s] (ICMA) latest edition of “Local Planning: Contemporary Principles and Practice,” which is a resource for local governments engaged in planning. As president of APA, he led an international effort to elevate the value and rebirth of planning in the 21st century. In 2012, the Urban Times named him one of the top international thought leaders of the built environment today. In 2013, UBM Future Cities named Mitchell Silver as one of the top 100 City Innovators in the world and the Royal Town Planning Institute made him an honorary lifetime member. In 2014, he was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Planning Association.

When Mayor Bill de Blasio named Mitchell Silver as New York City's Parks Commissioner, he called him “a visionary.” The Mayor went on to say: “He has a passion for fairness and equality, and he brings it to the work of government, and understands that we have to ensure that parks and open spaces are available in every community, and are well-maintained in every community in this city.”[4]

Silver attended Midwood High School in Brooklyn. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Architecture from Pratt Institute and a Master of Urban Planning from Hunter College. He is certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and a licensed Professional Planner (PP) in the State of New Jersey.

He has taught graduate planning courses at Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Hunter College, Brooklyn College, Pratt Institute, and North Carolina State University.[5]