For AICP President Elect
Mitchell Silver, FAICP
- Parks Commissioner, New York, NY
- Chief Planning and Development Officer & Planning Director, Raleigh, NC
- Deputy Planning Director, Washington, DC
- Town Manager, Irvington, NJ
- Principal, Abeles Phillips Preiss and Shapiro, New York, NY
- Urban Planner/Director, Manhattan Borough President, New York, NY
- City Planner, Department of City Planning, New York, NY
- Adjunct Lecturer: Harvard University, Hunter College, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn College and NC State University
- APA President
- APA Board, Director At-Large and Secretary/Treasurer
- Co-Chair, APA National Conference, New York City
- President, NY Metro Chapter
- New York City Section Director, NY Metro Chapter
- Chair/Co-Chair, Diversity Task Force
- Master of Urban Planning, Hunter College
- Bachelor of Architecture, Pratt Institute
Elevate pride in the credential: I have been a planner for 34 years. I believe planners are guardians of present and future generations. We plan for place and we plan for people. As I read the code of ethics of our allied professions and then read the AICP Code of Ethics, its makes me proud to be a planner. Planners are called to pursue and faithfully serve the public interest and to achieve high standards of integrity and proficiency. To be a certified planner is an affirmation that we accept our pursuit of the highest standards and aspirational principles to the public, our clients, employers, profession and colleagues.
As president, I will emphasize the vital role certified planners play in solving emerging issues and challenges by communicating the value of the AICP credential and work with our APA leaders and staff on a campaign to elevate the value and credibility of the credential.
Enhance planning knowledge and professional standards: In the 20th century the phrase "to protect the public health, safety and welfare" became a national mission to plan, build and maintain better communities. People died or suffered due to the way we built our communities. Through the Zoning and Planning Enabling Acts of the 1920s, planning asserted itself as a new approach to plan for the orderly growth and development of our nation. But in the 21st century, I believe that phrase has a new meaning. Issues like changing demographics, natural disasters, public health disparities and other inequities call for new planning knowledge to address these challenges.
As president, I will encourage the pursuit of programs and research to ensure that certified planners continue to evolve and take advantage of the best education opportunities possible. Certification means you have met certain qualifications and standards. As certified planners we should be proud to let the public, clients and employers know we are credible and strive to meet the highest professional standards of integrity and proficiency. I will consistently communicate this message to AICP members, candidates and planning students.
Develop new strategies to implement diversity, equity and inclusion: For the past two decades, I have been committed to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion within APA as well as in practice. I applaud the changes APA has made in recent years to address these issues and I am grateful for the new policy guide adopted this year.
I am committed to work with APA to implement the new policies and will work with the AICP Commission to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion are reflected in planning education, pro bono services, outreach to planning programs, ethics, research and professional practice. Serving as the president of APA was an honor and privilege. Now I seek your support to serve as president of AICP. I thank you in advance for your support.
What do you believe is the most important member service APA provides? Why? How would you propose strengthening this and other member services?
Planning education is the most important member service. When I say education, I mean sessions at conferences (national, regional, local); research; online educational resources; JAPA, and Planning Magazine. Education enhances planning knowledge and prepares members for emerging trends and issues. Planning education enables our members to be the experts and thought leaders they need to be in order to help their communities prepare for growth and change. Without specifically knowing member concerns, I am cautious about recommending what should be strengthened. However, improving customer service, in general, should be one of APA's top priorities.
How could APA improve and strengthen the relationship among APA and its components (AICP, Chapters, Divisions, SRC)?
The need to improve or strengthen relationships typically revolve around lack of communication, the belief that someone is not being heard or the lack of sincere follow-through. If that is the case, I would recommend APA staff and the board hold listening sessions during its bi-annual leadership meetings to take a deeper dive into the component member concerns in order to get a clear and accountable path on how to address them. Since some component leaders transition in and out every few years, the listening sessions could be an ongoing way to better understand expectations, different points of view and concerns.
Now that the Planning for Equity Policy Guide has been adopted, how should APA use this guide to shape itself organizationally?
APA must ensure that the policy guide has an external focus with the members, and an internal focus within the organization (APA staff and elected leadership). The Planning for Equity Policy Guide includes strategies and policies for APA members to pursue as part of their ethical responsibilities. While the policy is very clear about diversity, equity and inclusion for members, I would urge APA to be clear and transparent to members about how the organization will internally address the strategies and policies within the organization such as staff hires, leadership recruitment, education and research.
What is the biggest challenge facing the planning profession, and how should APA address it?
As planners, we strive to project the public health, safety and welfare of the general public. While some communities, and public and private sector leaders, remain skeptical about climate change or changing weather patterns, many communities and leaders see the changing climate as a major threat. Sea level rise, the frequencies of wildfires, droughts, floods and severe storms are having a devastating effect on the communities we serve. Lives have been lost. Property destroyed. Economies have been altered. How we communicate the need to change the way we plan, code and build in the face of changing weather patterns and frequency of natural disasters is our greatest challenge in the 21st Century and beyond. How should APA address it? APA understands this challenge and is addressing it through policy, research and education and should continue to do so now and in the future.