Professor Collignon is principally noted for his professionally focused research and planning activities. He organized the firm Berkeley Planning Associates with several other Berkeley faculty in 1972, and served as the CEO for twenty-four years. The firm became one of the largest planning firms in the U.S. doing work in more than twenty states a year. Most of Professor Collignon's research publications are listed with "Berkeley Planning Associates" as the author. He sold the firm in 1995 to his staff as an Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP). He has also worked as a Legislative Analyst for Congressman Clarence Long (Md.), as a Program Analyst for what is now the Office of Management and Budget in the President's Office, and as a Senior Economist at Abt Associates in Cambridge.
Professor Collignon holds a B.A. summa cum laude from Columbia, where he majored in history, economics, and government, and a Ph.D. in Political Economy and Government from Harvard. At some time or other, he has taught in every concentration in the department with the exception of urban design. His research, professional work, and teaching has included the areas of social policy planning, program evaluation and policy analysis, land use planning and regulation, regional planning, community building and development, infrastructure, economic development, housing, transportation, public health planning, public and nonprofit sector management and program implementation, and public finance. He has directed or been the principal investigator for national program evaluations of several Federal employment programs, of community-based care for the aged, of infrastructure management, social programs focusing on child abuse and neglect, independent living centers for those with disabilities, regional development programs based on growth centers, and policies aimed at redirecting or alleviating problems associated with migration of the poor from rural areas to cities. He has participated in several national evaluations of Federal housing programs and policies, Federal poverty programs, and the programs leading to Model Cities. He completed the first Federal policy study of containerization in freight transportation, participated in regional planning studies for the Canadian Maritime provinces and many different U.S. states and regions and growth policy/program studies for different cities, and completed a study for the Australian government of new technology town governance and finance.
The roles of which he is most proud include those of helping Berkeley's Center for Independent Living and helping shape the 1973 Rehabilitation Action and the later ADA legislation for those with disability. He directed from 1971-76 the nation's first center for program evaluation and policy analysis of disability programs, based at the Institute of Urban and Regional Development here at Berkeley. His research in his last years of active faculty involvement included the following: analyses documenting a huge shortage of urban recreational space in most U.S. cities due to increasing recreational activity of women and the loss of active recreational space to development and passive recreational parkland; a comparative study of the metropolitan planning activity by states in Australia; analysis via comparative study of cities in Europe, Australia and the U.S. of the use of hallmark events (such as the Olympics or Worlds' Fairs) for urban redevelopment; and an examination of the reasons behind the increasing financial dependence on public assistance of those with disability, especially the young.
He has received several HumanCorps Awards for his community service learning courses, the Teacher of the Year award from CalCorps, and entry to the Order of the Golden Bear by the campus students. Off campus, Professor Collignon has served on a wide array of local, metropolitan, state and national commissions and task forces. He was elected to two terms as a Berkeley City Councilmember representing the South Campus area, and has served a total of six years at different times on the City of Berkeley Planning Commission, including two terms as Commission President. In his retirement, he is currently serviing as the Governor for the Rotary District of 5160, some 72 Rotary club, 9 Rotaract clubs, and 63 Interact clubs as they do community service in their areas and international service around the world. While on campus, he helped guide the growth of the UC Berkeley Rotaract Club as it grew to the largest Rotaract club in the U.S. and one of the largest in the world.