Mitchell J. Silver, president of the American Planning Association, gave a lecture entitled “Planning in the 21st Century: What’s Next?” in February at the GSD. Silver discussed his career path and his role as chief planning & development officer and planning director for Raleigh, North Carolina. Having a background in architecture, Silver came to planning as a “non-traditional planner.” He believes questioning and breaking the rules helped him further his career.
Silver’s personal story and enthusiasm proved to be infectious. Kate Anderson (MUP ’14) said, “Hearing him express his passion for communities and commitment to his work made me genuinely excited to be a part of the urban planning profession.”
The bulk of the lecture focused on the future of planning. Silver said that he is “not into trendy, but into trends,” and believes planning needs to reach for the next generation. Getting ahead of the trend allows for planning that focuses on people and the place and not just the place.
Adrienne Mathews (MUP ’14) found the lecture uplifting, “Mitch Silver inspired me to be bolder and more visionary in planning, but always grounded in facts of place, people, and community. He did a great job in communicating the key messages from a vast amount of complex demographic data, providing a snapshot of the current American population, but also how this has broadly changed over last 150 years of planning.”