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Guide to the Ronald Shiffman collection on the Pratt Center for Community Development 2013.023

Center for Brooklyn History
128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn 11201

Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Maggie Schreiner and Kevina Tidwell. Digital materials processed by Erica López in 2019.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on August 01, 2022
eng using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Biographical / Historical

Ronald Shiffman was born in 1938 in Israel. His parents had immigrated to Israel from Russia after his father was imprisoned and exiled to Siberia for expressing Zionist political views. Shiffman's parents later emigrated to the Bronx borough of New York City, where Shiffman grew up. Shiffman graduated from Pratt Institute's School of Architecture, and later its graduate program in City and Regional Planning. In 1964, Shiffman co-founded the Pratt Institute Center for Community and Environmental Development (now known as the Pratt Center for Community Development). The Pratt Center is now the nation's largest public interest architectural, planning, and development office, and is the oldest continuously-operated university-based planning technical assistance and training organization in the United States working with community-based groups in low and moderate-income communities. Shiffman served as the Pratt Center's Director until 2003. Shiffman is now a Professor Emeritus at Pratt Institute's School of Architecture, where he chaired the Department of City and Regional Planning (now known as the Program for Sustainable Planning and Development) from 1991 to 1999.

In 1965, Shiffman assisted the Central Brooklyn Coordinating Council and Senator Robert F. Kennedy to conceive and launch the first community development corporation, known today as the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. Shiffman was appointed to the New York City Planning Commission by Mayor David Dinkins and served on the Planning Commission from 1990-1996. He has also served as a consultant to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the United States Agency for International Development, and the Ford Foundation on national and global community-based planning, design, and development initiatives. After the fall of apartheid, he was a founding board member of Shared Interest, an organization that guarantees micro-loans for black entrepreneurial economic development enterprises in South Africa. He also served as President of the Salzburg Congress on Urban Planning and Development from 1996-2000, an international organization of architects, planners, and development practitioners. Shiffman was a founding member of the racial justice non-profit the Center for Social Inclusion, which later merged with Race Forward. As of 2018, Shiffman continues to serve on the board of the expanded Race Forward. In 2012, Shiffman was awarded the Jane Jacobs medal for Lifetime Achievement from the Rockefeller Foundation, and the following year he won the Planning Pioneer Award from the American Planning Association.