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Thursday 8:30 to 10:00 am
Opening Plenary Session

Welcome and Introductions, Opening Remarks -- Wendy Shabay, AICP, APA Texas Chapter President

Inspire, Imagine, Innovate!  Texas APA Conference 2015 Galveston – Kelly Porter, AICP and Shad Comeaux, AICP, Conference Co-Chairs

Welcome to Galveston – Mayor Jim Yarbrough, City of Galveston



Plenary Session Speaker
Mitchell Silver, FAICP
City of New York Parks Commissioner
Learn more about speaker here.

Plenary speaker -- Mitchell Silver, FAICP, Park Commissioner, City of New York

Mitchell J. Silver became Commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation in May 2014. Commissioner Silver is also the immediate past president of the American Planning Association (APA). 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, Mitchell Silver oversees management, planning and operations of nearly 30,000 acres of parkland, which includes parks, playgrounds, beaches, marinas, recreation centers, wilderness areas and other assets.

Prior to returning to his native New York City as Parks Commissioner, he served as the Chief Planning & Development Officer and Planning Director for Raleigh, NC. 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, DC.

Commissioner Silver lectures extensively throughout the United States and abroad on a variety of planning topics. He is a contributing author and editor of 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. Known by his colleagues as a passionate communicator, creative thinker, problem-solver and visionary leader, Mitchell Silver has been at the center of many cutting edge trends, innovative solutions and visionary plans, including Harlem on the River and Vision for Jamaica Center in New York City and the revitalization of neighborhoods in New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, and Raleigh.  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.

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Thursday 12:00 to 1:30 pm

Luncheon Keynote Speaker

Jeff Blackard --“NeoRetroism” 

Since the advent of the automobile and Euclidean zoning, Developers and Planners have torn apart the very fabric of society.  Mutli-generational residences and communes where people of all walks of life not only shared a common zip code, but actually lived, worked and grew together have now given way to corn fields covered in McMansions where people plan to live for 7 years or less.  What we have lost is a society where people were dependent upon each other, and in turn, met each other’s needs through service and relationships.   These pre-auto and pre-Euclidean environments, commonly called villages, hamlets or towns, served as the foundation for hundreds of generations of people, creating a constantly evolving built environment to serve the needs of the people in their day.   In my 30+ year journey as a Developer, I contributed heavily to this problem, developing over 15,000 single-family lots across the US.  But I had an awakening in a small Croatian fishing village over a decade ago.  An epiphany that has put me on a new path, with my quest now being to help perfect the tool we need to undo this trend and restore Society through better planning and development.  Twelve years of study resulted in a new way to develop, which is really a return to the proven former ways of times past.  “NeoRetroism.”  And he backed this theory with a ground-breaking $350 million development in McKinney, TX called Adriatica.  Where young and old, rich and poor all share the same built environment to the betterment of each other, and Society as a whole.

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