Maxine Griffith is a consultant in private practice focused in the areas of urban planning,
community development, campus planning and policy. Prior to opening her practice this year, she held the title of Senior Advisor to the President of Columbia University where she focused on a similar range of issues. For the 12 preceding years, Griffith held the dual title of Executive Vice President for Government and Community Affairs and Special Advisor for Campus Planning. She currently teaches at Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and is an associate with the University’s World Projects Initiative.
Maxine Griffith was a key member of the team planning for the University’s award-winning Manhattanville campus in Harlem, New York. She worked with consultant architects and New York City Planning staff, as well as chairing university staff, faculty, and student advisory committees. Her work led to the establishment of a 17-acre Special Academic Mixed Use District and a 22-building plan for the new campus. Griffith also negotiated an historic Community Benefits Agreement with representatives of the surrounding neighborhoods. This successful accord is in place and operational.
From 2000 - 2005, Griffith was Executive Director of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission and Secretary (Deputy Mayor) for Strategic Planning. During her tenure, the Commission won two national American Planning Association awards, for the implementation of the Broad Street downtown plan and for their work with minority communities in North and West Philadelphia. Griffith also represented the City as part of the University of Pennsylvania’s “Penn Connects” Master-planning effort. Prior to her appointment in Philadelphia, Griffith worked at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), first as the Secretary’s Regional Director for New York and New Jersey, and then in Washington as HUD’s Assistant Deputy Secretary, where she re-vamped the Department’s 50-state field structure.
She was also principal of Griffith Planning & Design, a firm providing planning, design, and pre-development services to government and community-based clients. This included the development of a master-plan for the Children’s Defense Fund/Haley Farm Campus in Clinton, Tennessee, and a conceptual plan to convert excess school & factory buildings to live/work space for artists in Yonkers, New York. She also worked extensively in China and in West Africa.
Ms. Griffith has served on the New York City Planning Commission; the Board of Directors of the American Planning Association, and the Lincoln Land Institute of Land Policy. She was appointed to the resource faculty for the Mayor’s Institute on City Design and the National Democratic Institute of International Affairs. She served as Chair of Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity. She currently serves on the executive board of the Regional Plan Association and is a member of the National Organization of Minority Architects.
Maxine Griffith was born in Harlem, New York. She earned a B.A. in Urban Studies from Hunter College, a Master of Architecture degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and has completed coursework in Urban Planning, Housing, and Real Property Finance at Harvard University GSD. In 2018, Griffith was elected to the prestigious College of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners.