Professor & Dean Dr. Chris Silver Focuses on Megacity Development

Beginning his 10th year as Dean and Professor of Urban & Regional Planning in the College of Design, Construction and Planning, Dr. Chris Silver offers an extensive planning perspective on urbanization, sustainability, international development planning, and addresses effective mobility, particularly focusing on the various ways that transportation influences the urban development process in the international megacity. Coming from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where he was Head of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Silver also serves as an External Advisory Board member for the UFTI and acknowledges the importance of cross-disciplinary collaboration in his teaching and research.

“All of my teaching and research is strengthened by cross-disciplinary work,” as his two current research projects suggest. First, Silver is assisting in creating a new zoning system that will enable controlled growth for the future, as well as designing spaces for future development given existing transportation and land use conditions under the College of Design, Construction and Planning interdisciplinary initiative, Florida Resilient Community Initiative and with the Town of Longboat Key. Second, Silver is working on a collaborative two year grant funded through the Institute for International Education to develop strategies to apply green technologies to support sustainable urban development with faculty from Cardiff University and the University of Indonesia.

Certainly, Silver brings a uniquely cross-disciplinary perspective to the UFTI External Advisory Board with his diverse background and keen focus in history, for example in planning history, and urban history, along with his informative overseas experiences. Having served as a consultant with the National Development Planning Board in Jakarta, Indonesia, for three years, Silver published his book, Planning the Megacity: Jakarta in the Twentieth Century in 2008, which examines the dramatic transformation of Jakarta from a “compact city” to a “megacity.”

Despite working through several changes during his time in the transportation industry, including strategies to enhance urban sustainability and the challenges of bringing sustainable practices to megacities, more generally, Silver sees transportation infrastructure, especially as cities in developing nations expand, as a future area of focus. Additionally, he notes that more engagement in international development work is one of the key problems that the transportation community should continue to take up.

UFTI hopes to play a significant part in facing these challenges head on along with the expertise that Silver brings to the Institute.