Author: Edward T. McMahon

Ed McMahon holds the Charles E. Fraser Chair on Sustainable Development at the Urban Land Institute in Washington, D.C. where he is nationally known as an inspiring and thought provoking speaker and leading authority on topics related to sustainable development, land conservation, smart growth, and historic preservation. As the Senior Fellow for Sustainable Development, McMahon leads ULI’s worldwide efforts to conduct research and educational activities related to environmentally sensitive development policies and practices. Before joining the Urban Land Institute in 2004, McMahon spent 14 years as the Vice President and Director of Land Use Planning for The Conservation Fund in Arlington, Virginia where he helped to protect more than 5 million acres of land of historic or natural significance. He is also the co-founder and former President of Scenic America, a national non-profit organization devoted to protecting America’s scenic landscapes. Before that, he taught law and public policy at Georgetown University Law Center for 9 years, and served in the U.S. Army, both at home and abroad.

Articles by Edward T. McMahon

  • Bicycling Infrastructure Means Business, Spurs Property Values
    Published on May 22, 2017 in Economy, Market & Trends
    What is the fastest-growing means of transportation in the United States? The bicycle, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. People bike for many reasons—better health, recreation, transportation, to save money, to run errands. But the biggest reason that bicycling is booming in the United States is the growth in bicycle infrastructure.
  • U.S. Voters Approve Billions for Transit and Green Space
    Published on November 28, 2016 in Infrastructure
    In November, voters across the United States endorsed numerous state and local ballot measures approving additional funding for green space, land conservation, and public transportation.
  • Cultivating Development: Trends in Food and Real Estate
    Published on November 10, 2016 in Sustainability
    Why are food and agriculture becoming more important parts of real estate development projects? Attendees at a session at the 2016 ULI Fall Meeting in Dallas learned that growing, processing, and selling food in development projects can pay big dividends for savvy developers as well as for consumers, communities, and the environment.
  • Recognizing the Power of Food in Enhancing Development
    Published on October 19, 2015 in Development
    From rooftop gardens, to edible landscaping, to farm-focused developments, to urban food markets, to breweries in once-derelict industrial spaces, attendees at the ULI Fall Meeting heard experts talk about how food is transforming marginal real estate and underused spaces in new and dramatic ways.
  • Ten Principles for Responsible Tourism
    Published on August 10, 2015 in Economy, Market & Trends
    Tourism is a critical factor in the U.S. and world economies. “The impacts of tourism on a community can be beneficial if planned and managed, or extremely damaging if left without controls,” says Michael Kelly, former chairman of the APA’s tourism planning division.
  • Building Olympic Cities for the Long Haul
    Published on May 29, 2015 in Planning & Design
    ULI senior fellow Ed McMahon conducted a question-and-answer session with John Major, former prime minister of the United Kingdom, about the Olympics, healthy places, and global urbanism. Major is scheduled to speak at the ULI Asia Pacific Summit in Tokyo at this year’s Leadership Dinner.
  • Election Victories for Smart Growth, Green Space Initiatives
    Published on November 17, 2014 in Sustainability
    While voters were deciding on control of the U.S. Congress and several state houses, they were also voting on 146 ballot measures, many of which benefited plans for smarter growth and green space.
  • In Building Size and Age, Variety Yields Vibrancy
    Published on August 07, 2014 in Planning & Design
    Neighborhoods with small-scale historic buildings can be economic and cultural powerhouses when given a chance to survive and evolve.
  • Walmart Goes Urban and Smaller
    Published on February 27, 2014 in Planning & Design
    Compared with the old gray-blue box that has saturated suburban and small-town America, the new urban Walmarts in Washington, D.C., are a remarkable departure.
  • Building Healthy Places: Three Models in Colorado
    Published on August 12, 2013 in Sustainability
    Healthy Places: Designing an Active Colorado is a five-year, $4.5 million initiative sponsored by the Colorado Health Foundation. The CHF and its local partners asked ULI to conduct Advisory Services panels in each of the three selected communities. The following are some of the lessons learned.
  • Keeping the Lid on D.C.: Build Better, Not Just Bigger
    Published on March 15, 2013 in Planning & Design
    ULI fellow Ed McMahon makes the case for keeping the building height limit in Washington, D.C., where it is.
  • Healthy Communities: A New Direction in Development
    Published on November 26, 2012 in Economy, Market & Trends
    What does the epidemic of obesity in the U.S. have to do with how communities are designed and built? That was the question at a panel at the ULI Fall Meeting in Denver. In short, panelists said the way we design and build communities can have a big effect on residents’ physical and mental health.
  • From Skid Row to LoDo: Historic Preservation’s Role in Denver’s Revitalization
    Published on October 11, 2012 in Development
    Capitalizing on an old warehouse district helped turn around a downtown.
  • The Distinctive City
    Published on April 04, 2012 in Planning & Design
    Cities are seeking the recipe for economic success in a rapidly changing global marketplace and, in the process, often overlook a critical asset: community distinctiveness. Special places, characteristics and customs have value, and they can increase a city’s competitive edge.
  • Bicycles Belong
    Published on February 22, 2012 in Infrastructure
    Walking and bicycling provide many benefits—reduced air pollution, improved public health, decreased dependence on foreign oil—but federal funding for nonmotorized transportation is now in jeopardy.
  • The Greening of the Real Estate Industry
    Published on January 20, 2012 in Sustainability
    Nothing demonstrates the disconnect between politicians and the marketplace more than the current debate about climate change and U.S. energy policy.
  • Land Conservation Remains as Popular as Ever
    Published on November 28, 2011 in Public Spaces
    Governments across the nation have long recognized the need to preserve open space. What may have been underestimated, however, is the commercial value of open space and its potential to create value.
  • Zoning at 85
    Published on November 21, 2011 in Sustainability
    This year marks the 85th anniversary of the landmark United States Supreme Court case Euclid v Ambler Realty, which upheld the basic constitutionality of local zoning. Given the current debate between liberals and conservatives about the appropriate role of regulation in shaping our economy and our communities, it seems timely to ask the question: do we still need zoning?
  • The Food Revolution and Its Impact on Real Estate
    Published on November 03, 2011 in Fall Meeting
    “The Food Revolution and Its Impact on Real Estate”—a session at ULI’s recent 2011 Fall Meeting—showcased three different examples of how food is becoming an increasingly important part of not just our diets, but also our developments. Read more to learn how this panel provided food for thought on the role of food as a real estate amenity, a community builder, and a project differentiator.
  • Hospitality Today
    Published on June 08, 2011 in Spring Meeting
    After undergoing the worst downturn in revenue and demand since the Great Depression, the hospitality industry made a rapid recovery in 2010. While markets like New York, Boston, Miami, and San Francisco are back to prerecession peaks, other markets are seeing increases only in the number of rooms booked, rather than pricing. Find out what else was said about this at the ULI Spring Council Forum.
  • Office Development: Who, What, and Where?
    Published on June 01, 2011 in Spring Meeting
    Since the nation is experiencing a “jobless recovery,” new office development is stagnant to nonexistent in most U.S. markets, conclude panelists at ULI’s Spring Council Forum. They agree that success in the office market will be measured submarket by submarket, and that for the immediate future, office development will mainly involve reusing and repositioning existing assets.
  • The Future of the Strip?
    Published on March 02, 2011 in Development
    For the last half-century, retailers favored the strip mall—that linear pattern of businesses characterized by parking lots, big signs, boxlike buildings, and a total dependence on automobiles for access and circulation. According to ULI’s own Ed McMahon, however, the future belongs to town centers, main streets, and mixed-use development. Read what he says about the trends responsible for this.
  • The Place Making Dividend
    Published on November 19, 2010 in Development
    If you can’t differentiate your community from any other community, you have no competitive advantage. Capital is footloose in a global economy. What keeps people in the community? What brings people to your community and back to your community over another? Read about the differences in communities that create a feeling of place and that also translate into capital.
  • Master Planned Communities: What Does the Future Look Like?
    Published on October 18, 2010 in Development
    Changes in demographics, income dynamics and consumer behavior all mean big changes ahead for master planned communities. This was the conclusion of panelists at a session titled “Master Planned Communities 2020” at ULI’s 2010 Fall Meeting. A panelist concluded by setting out 20 predictions for how changes in the market, the industry and the world will reshape the location and design of master planned communities.
  • What Conservation Development is Not
    Published on September 21, 2010 in Development
    Conservation development technologies have been around for decades, but only in the past few years have developers, conservation organizations, landowners, and local governments begun to understand the potential of these technologies to link land conservation with land development while providing meaningful protection of natural resources. Find out what conservation development is not.
  • Conservation Communities
    Published on July 01, 2010 in Development
    Conservation development technologies have been around for decades, but only in the past few years have developers, conservation organizations, landowners, and local governments begun to understand the potential of these technologies to link land conservation with land development while providing meaningful protection of natural resources. In addition, ample evidence exists that shows homebuyers will pay premium prices to live next to nature, green space, and even certain types of agriculture.