Ellen McCarthy serves on the faculty of the Urban & Regional Planning program and is principal at the Urban Partnership, LLC.
With over 35 years of professional experience focused on the practice of land use zoning, neighborhood planning, and historic preservation, McCarthy is widely recognized for her expertise in reconciling public and private value in urban revitalization. From 1999-2007, she served in the District of Columbia Office of Planning, first as deputy director for Land Use Review and subsequently as director. Under her leadership, the District of Columbia approved its first newly drafted Comprehensive Plan since the establishment of the congressionally appointed Control Board.
An expert negotiator and mediator, McCarthy is adept at facilitating complex multi-stakeholder land use cases which deliver mixed-use, transit-oriented development, and historic preservation outcomes. She has stewarded hundreds of complex zoning cases before the D.C. Zoning Commission, Historic Preservation Review Board and the Board of Zoning Adjustment. Whether entitling land for new development, engaging in public hearings, or bridging community conflict, McCarthy has facilitated planned unit developments, re-zonings, variances, special exceptions, street and alley closings, roof structure reviews, downtown development district compliance and transfers of development rights, as well as federal land use, preservation, and environmental reviews.
In 2009, Partners for Livable Communities bestowed its Entrepreneurial American Leadership Award to McCarthy and her husband, faculty member Richard Bradley, for their efforts to revitalize Downtown D.C.
She holds a Master of City Planning from Harvard University and a B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Maryland.