George W. “Mac” McCarthy, an economist at the Ford Foundation dedicated to improving conditions in metropolitan areas worldwide, has been named the 5th president of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Beginning July 1, McCarthy, 57, will succeed Gregory K. Ingram, who is retiring after serving as president since 2005. McCarthy will bring new vision and a fresh perspective to the Cambridge-based think tank as it continues to promote dialogue and sound land use policy in the U.S. and around the world, said Kathryn J. Lincoln, chair of the board of directors at the Lincoln Institute.
“His experience bears so much on the work of the Lincoln Institute, and he bridges the worlds of policymakers, the academy, and the public arena,” said Lincoln. “He is visionary and energetic, and his leadership will be transformational.”
A story on the appointment appeared in today's editions of The Boston Globe.
As director of Metropolitan Opportunity at the Ford Foundation, McCarthy has supported collaborative regional efforts to overcome the social, economic and spatial isolation of disadvantaged populations living in and around metropolitan areas worldwide.
“This is a pivotal and important time for cities around the world. The Lincoln Institute plays a unique and extremely important role in identifying the central importance of land policies, across a range of social and economic challenges,” said McCarthy. “The story of opportunity is told in how we organize ourselves spatially. Without an effective response, we will double the one billion people living in unplanned settlements around the world’s cities in the next thirty years. Land use decisions made today will dictate the life chances of generations to come.”
The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, founded in 1974, is a private operating foundation and think tank with an international scope, with a focus on global urbanization, urban planning, and tax policy as it relates to land.
As director of Metropolitan Opportunity, McCarthy sought to improve access to jobs and other opportunities by coordinating regional planning efforts, transportation and infrastructure investments, and housing development policies to alleviate poverty and reduce its concentration within metropolitan areas.
Before becoming director in 2008, he administered a Ford Foundation program that focused on using homeownership to build wealth for low-income families and their communities. That work centered on improving housing and housing finance markets to increase the chances that low-income homeowners could succeed in exiting and staying out of poverty.
Prior to joining the Ford Foundation in 2000, he was a senior research associate at the Center for Urban and Regional Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has worked as professor of economics at Bard College; resident scholar at the Jerome Levy Economics Institute; visiting scholar and member of the High Table at King's College of Cambridge University; visiting scholar at the University of Naples, Italy; and research associate at the Centre for Independent Social Research in St. Petersburg, Russia.
He earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a master's degree in economics from Duke University and a bachelor's degree in economics and mathematics from the University of Montana. The son of two public school teachers in Massachusetts, he grew up in Boston and Sharon, Mass., and taught in the Weymouth public schools for two years. He will be returning to the Bay State from his current home in Westchester County, N.Y., where he lives with his wife, Tootie Larios, an actress, and their three dogs.
Ingram, president of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy since June 2005, was previously Director-General of Operations Evaluation at the World Bank, where he also held positions in urban development and research, and was Staff Director for the World Development Report 1994, Infrastructure for Development; he was also an associate professor of economics at Harvard University. The previous leaders of the Lincoln Institute were H. James Brown, Ronald Smith, and Arlo Woolery.
The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy is a leading resource for key issues concerning the use, regulation, and taxation of land. Providing high-quality education and research, the Lincoln Institute strives to improve public dialogue and decisions about land policy.