Ed McMahon holds the Charles E. Fraser Chair on Sustainable Development and Environmental Policy at the Urban Land Institute (ULI) in Washington, D.C. He is nationally known as an inspiring and thought-provoking speaker and a leading authority on topics such as the links between health and the built environment, 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. He is also a senior staff adviser for ULI’s Building Healthy Places Initiative, he is a sought-after speaker and thinker on health and real estate. He is currently at work on a major new report, Active Transportation and Real Estate: New Frontiers in Development, which will be released at ULI’s Spring Meeting in Houston in May, 2015.
Before joining the 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. McMahon is also the cofounder and former president of Scenic America, a national nonprofit organization devoted to protecting America’s scenic landscapes. Before that, he taught law and public policy at Georgetown University Law Center for nine years, and served in the U.S. Army, both at home and abroad.
McMahon is the author or coauthor of 15 books, including Conservation Communities: Creating Value with Nature, Open Space, and Agriculture; Better Models for Development in Virginia; Developing Sustainable Planned Communities; Green Infrastructure: Connecting Landscape and Communities; Land Conservation Finance; and Balancing Nature and Commerce in Gateway Communities. He also writes regularly for Urban Land magazine, Citiwire, Planning Commissioners Journal, and other periodicals.
Over the past 25 years, McMahon has helped communities in all 50 states with a wide variety of community planning and economic development issues. McMahon serves on several advisory boards and commissions, including the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation Maryland, the Governor’s Institute for Community Design, and the Orton Family Foundation.
McMahon has an MA in urban studies from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a JD from Georgetown University Law School. He and his wife live in Takoma Park, Maryland.