photo of Ed McMahon

Ed McMahon

Edward McMahon is a nationally renowned authority on sustainable development, land conservation. and urban design. He is currently a senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute.

McMahon previously served as director of The Conservation Fund’s “American Greenways Program” and as president of Scenic America, a national non-profit organization devoted to protecting America’s scenic landscapes.

Over the course of 15 years, Ed McMahon authored more than two dozen articles for the Planning Commissioners Journal. They are listed below. Click on the title to read excerpts. PlannersWeb members can download the articles in pdf format as published in the PCJ (click on the title first; you will then see the Download link)

Billboard directly over a house

Billboards: The Case for Control

Why cities and towns benefit when they just say “no” to the continued proliferation of billboards. A report from PCJ contributing writer & ULI Senior Resident Fellow Ed McMahon.

from front of Apple store in New York City

The Place Making Dividend

Why fostering a sense of place is key to having a strong, economically vibrant city or town. Observations from PCJ contributing writer & ULI Senior Resident Ed McMahon.

building icon

Density Without High-Rises?

High-rise buildings are not necessarily the best answer to promoting denser, more walkable communities, argues Urban Land Institute Senior Resident Fellow & PCJ contributing writer Ed McMahon.

slice of apple pie

What’s So Bad About Zoning?

A reality check on four myths about zoning and land use regulation: 1. Zoning is un-American, 2. Sparsely populated rural areas don’t need to control uses of land, 3. Land use controls will increase taxes and reduce property values, and 4. Planning is a bad idea.

photo of electricians examining wiring

Building Codes Get Smarter

Building codes often make it financially infeasible to rehabilitate older — often historic — buildings by requiring rehab work to meet the same standards as new construction. This approach is changing as states and localities are adopting more flexible building codes.

Giles County, Virginia, Courthouse

Public Buildings Should Set the Standard

Until the last half of the 20th century, key public buildings were almost always designed and built to be focal points of their communities. Unfortunately, in recent decades the trend has been to build cheaply in peripheral locations.

road sign indicating roundabout ahead

Road Design: A Turn Ahead

Too often new roadways have been designed to be wider and straighter, without much consideration being given to the character of the surrounding community. In recent years, however, there has been a gradual turn towards more thoughtful, “context sensitive” roadway design.

school boy looking at fleet of school buses.

School Sprawl

One of the most important, but often overlooked, contributors to sprawl is the construction of large educational facilities in outlying, undeveloped areas. Edward McMahon takes a look at some of the causes of “school sprawl” — and at some efforts to combat it.

green infrastructure illustration by Paul Hoffman for PlannersWeb

Green Infrastructure

Your town, city, or county undoubtedly has an infrastructure plan dealing with water, sewer, roads, and utilities — the gray infrastructure. But has it planned as well for green infrastructure, such as trails, greenways, river corridors, and bike paths?