Who We Are

Planned Densification LLC’s founding members Mark Smith, Errol Cowan, and legal counsel Dan Slone are profiled below.

MARK SMITH, Managing Member

Mark Smith

Mark Smith’s 30 year market research career started in the early 1980s with Questor Associates in San Francisco (Stephen E. Roulac’s firm which was the precursor to Deloitte Touche’s real estate consulting practice). In 1982, Smith joined with the Sanford R. Goodkin Research Corporation. The Sanford R. Goodkin Research Corporation was acquired by KPMG Peat Marwick in 1987, to augment KPMGs accounting and tax practice across the United States. Smith worked in KPMG’s National Real Estate Practice for nine years, gaining institutional real estate experience. At KMPG, Smith also studied appraisal and also corporate business process redesign—a skill that has added to his understanding of how to design and manage positive change in real estate projects and in development organizations.In the 1980s, Smith began integrating what is now called New Urbanism into his client studies. In the early 1990s, Smith began integrating green building and sustainability. 

In 1995, after nine years with KPMG, Smith founded Pario Research and, following years of interest in sustainability and urban betterment, dedicated Pario to helping clients understand feasible ways to improve financial and environmental performance, and to create real estate developments that more strongly connect with their community. When Pario was formed over 15 years ago, it was the first urban research company in the United States to work with the urban betterment programs known as new urbanism, green building, and smart growth—which have now become strong trends that are pursued by developers and municipalities. Pario has a long and groundbreaking record of consulting, publishing, speaking, and implementation of these programs.

Mark Smith is a Managing Member of Urban Betterment Company, LLC.

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ERROL COWAN, Managing Member


Errol Cowan

Errol Cowan adds multiple decades of varied experience to the PD team. He graduated from UC Berkeley with an MBA and a multiple PhD degree array in real estate economics urban planning and urban geography. Errol has balanced professional experience in both public and private sectors as right of way agent appraiser, land economist, expert witness, Realtor, property/portfolio manager environmental impact analyst and developer. Among his favorite professional activities is strategic and innovative development project planning.

As a consultant, Dr. Cowan has served diverse clients including but not limited to Fannie Mae, City of Santa Fe City of Santa Maria, Union Pacific Shell, US Navy and numerous development companies. He served as Associate Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning at the University of Virginia. and has been noted for his green development model project and his Eco-tourism resort. Errol employs his comprehensive and holistic understanding of development processes, institution and role players that enables innovative approaches to his work for his clients.

For more biographical information about Errol–


DAN SLONE, of Counsel

Dan Slone

Dan Slone is a partner in the Richmond office of the international law firm McGuireWoods LLP. He represents property owners developing innovative new land use strategies for more sustainable developments and open spaces, and he counsels product manufacturers regarding the unique opportunities and impediments facing green products.

Over the last decade Dan has represented numerous national and international nonprofits such as the USGBC, the Congress for the New Urbanism and the World Green Building Council. He serves on the boards of several nonprofits, including the Congress for the New Urbanism, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities and Bioregional North America (One Planet Communities). He is cited consistently on lists of “top lawyers” for businesses, and he has won awards for his service for the environment. He is a frequent author of articles and a national speaker regarding green development.

In the summer of 2008 Dan and co-author Doris Goldstein wrote A Legal Guide to Urban and Sustainable Development for Planners, Developers and Architects, published by John Wiley & Sons. In 2007 ULI published Developing Sustainable Planned Communities which includes Dan’s chapter on “Maintaining Sustainability.” In August 2009 the ABA released Green Building and Sustainable Development: The Practical Legal Guide which contains a chapter Dan wrote as well. Dan has written chapters on energy and legal arrangements in a book on eco-industrial development and a chapter in a new book entitled Resilient Community Handbook.

Dan helps manufacturers address co-product issues, issues in contracts for gray water and storm water harvesting, regulatory barriers and product claim issues as well as intellectual property and licensing of alternative technology issues. He assists owners of large tracts with the monetization of environmental services, and helps develop innovative infill, greenfield and retrofit projects by drafting new codes, obtaining land use and environmental entitlements, drafting governance documents and negotiating public/private partnership arrangements.

Dan is on the Board of the Form-Based Codes Institute and the National Charrette Institute and is a member of the Transect Codes Council. He and his team have worked on form-based codes for localities and projects in several states.

For more biographical information about Dan–




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