Ethel Sheffer is an urban planner with experience in community planning and development, and making neighborhood participation a political reality. She is the Principal of Insight Associates, a consulting group providing professional services in community planning, the public approval process, community outreach and engagement, and in collaborations among government, nonprofits and the private sector. She is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation where she has taught courses in community planning, public space and the private realm, politics and planning, and supervised a number of planning studios for city agencies and community groups.

Ethel is also currently serving as a Commissioner on the New York City Public Design Commission. As a member of Manhattan’s Community Board (CB) 7, she was Chair during the long approvals process for Riverside South development and later the head of a task force on the ULURP response to Riverside Center. She was also the Chair of the Tri-Board Task Force of CB 4, 5 & 7 on the development of Columbus Circle and the Chair of the CB7 Task Force on the 2007-8 rezoning of the area from W. 96th Street to W. 110th Street.

Sheffer served as President of the New York Metro Chapter of the American Planning Association from 2002-2008. In 2012, Ethel was inducted into the College of Fellows of the National American Institute of Certified Planners. She is the recipient of the Andrew Haswell Green Award for outstanding contributions to New York City planning.