August 2023
News + Updates
City of Harrisburg Disparity Study
In 2022, the City of Harrisburg and Impact Harrisburg commissioned a disparity study conducted by ESI, Milligan Consulting, LLC, and the Winston/Terrell Group.

This study had three goals:
  • Provide a baseline understanding of the City's utilization of available diverse business enterprises
  • Recommend race and gender specific participation goals
  • Provide programmatic remedies to help the City achieve the above goals

ESI looked at the roughly $150 million spent in City contracts from FY 2017 to FY 2021, and analyzed the data by county of business, contract type, and Diverse Business Enterprise (DIVBE) type. Following the analysis, the ESI team made recommendations to the City for utilization goals, as well as programmatic recommendations to help achieve them.

Click here to learn more.
Taking Care of Business Program Assessment
ESI, The Intersect, and Cameron Professional Services Group provided an evaluation of the Taking Care of Business (TCB) Commercial Corridor Cleaning Program on behalf of the City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce. The effort led by ESI included constructing an approach for measuring the efficacy of TCB in achieving its goals, performing an initial synthesis of existing metrics, and additional guidance on the data collection and synthesis for ongoing evaluation, while evaluating the extent to which progress is being made towards TBC’s goals.

The ESI-led team worked closely to evaluate TCB’s goals and the progress made toward achieving them. This included a litter index of neighborhoods showing conditions before and after program implementation, across time and geography.

This evaluation demonstrated how a public investment can help increase the capacity of small, locally-owned, diverse private cleaning firms to perform work that benefits communities while expanding employment opportunities that improve lives, and have a positive impact on the economies of neighborhood business districts.

Click here to learn more.
Cityscape Factors Affecting Spillover Impacts of Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Developments: An Analysis of Los Angeles
ESI Principal Richard Voith's research on factors affecting spillover in low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) developments in Los Angeles was published in a recent issue of Cityscape.

This article explores how the effects of these developments differ based on various characteristics of the property and surrounding neighborhood. The authors supplement statistical analyses with interviews of key affordable housing developers to understand their decision-making process regarding the siting and structuring of LIHTC properties.

Cityscape has a goal of bringing high-quality research on housing and community development issues. The research includes scholars, government officials, and practitioners.

Read the article here.
An ESI project team including Trevor Marimbire, Cameron Miller, John LaVaccare, and Gina Lavery participated in a site tour in the Great Seneca Science Corridor. The team is working with Montgomery Planning on a life sciences innovation district strategy for the corridor and County!

The Great Seneca Science Corridor area covers 4,360 acres in the heart of the I-270 Corridor. The area includes the Life Sciences Center, the western Quince Orchard neighborhoods, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and Rosemont. Montgomery County has worked for decades to cultivate the life sciences industry in the area where it has a significant role in establishing the Corridor as a globally known center for science and technology.

Read more about it here.
ESI's Senior Vice President and Principal Ethan Connor-Ross participated in The Future of Neighborhoods at Venture Cafe by University Science Center. He presented ESI's work on the Metropolitan Livability Index, which ranked Philadelphia and other similar U.S. cities on different key livability factors.

ESI would like to thank the Science Center for allowing our firm to take part in this important event.
Senior Vice President and Principal Gina Lavery will be presenting on a panel at the Pennsylvania Greenways and Trails Summit on September 19. This session will center on quantifying the economic, environmental, and social impact of trail networks, comparing and contrasting the Trans Canada Trail and the East Coast Greenway.

Register here.
Staff and Senior Advisor Updates
ESI congratulates David Stanek on his promotion to Vice President!
ESI congratulates Joyce Liu on her promotion to Associate Director!
ESI would like to welcome Yihan Zhang to the firm as an Analyst. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Master's in City Planning with a concentration in Public and Private Development.
We are pleased to welcome Uswa Mutaal to ESI as an analyst. She is a recent graduate of Drexel University, having majored in Economics and Political Science.
ESI would like to welcome Yingtong (Angel) Zhong to the firm as an Analyst. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Master of Science in Social Policy and Data Analytics, with a certificate in GIS and Spatial Analysis.
Senior Advisor Joyce Lee was featured in an interview with the Philadelphia Environmental Justice Advisory Commission

Read more here.
ESI's Senior Advisor, Anne Bovaird Nevins has co-authored a new article in partnership with Bruce Katz and Elijah Davis, which was published by Accelerator for America.

Read more here.
As part of the time serving as summer fellows for ESI Center for the Future of Cities, Patrick Darcy and Samriddhi Khare have began developing a climate resilience index for nine cities across the United States. The research builds upon ESI's existing database of indices and metrics designed to evaluate and address the ever-changing nature of climate risks and the evolving needs of cities in their quest for climate resilience.

Read more here.

U.S. - China Research
Embracing the Green Mindset: A Collaborative Approach to Combat Climate Change

Droughts, floods, crop reductions, and disease-related deaths – people around the world are deeply experiencing the increasingly widespread impacts of climate change, and no one can remain unaffected. Many are forced to relocate, leaving behind their homes and loved ones. Yet, is the new place they arrive truly a Promised Land? Or perhaps, one day they might become displaced once again, embarking on a path of no return.

Read more here.
Present Value
Racism: A Cancer in America
by Curtis Gregory
The cancer of racism is a disease that gets passed down from generation to generation. Technology has played a role in showing blatant examples of hate, from television coverage of women and children being attacked by police dogs during peaceful protests, to the beating of Rodney King and the public execution of George Floyd.

The U.S. Supreme Court Gutted Affirmative Action. Are We A More Equitable Society? Can We Be?
by Renee Cardwell Hughes
The United States Supreme Court launched a direct strike against the institutions that most Americans believe are the gateway to a better life. In Students For Fair Admissions, Inc. v. Harvard College, decided 6/29/2023.

Client Spotlight
Drexel University has offered opportunities for Cabrini University students to transfer as the school will be closing at the end of the 2023-2024 academic school year. Therefore, Drexel is paving the way for students to continue their college education by ensuring a renewable tuition scholarship that goes to 50% of students transferring, a transfer counselor, credit evaluation, and waived application fees to create a smooth transition.
Unibet is sponsoring free SEPTA Broad Street Line rides home from Eagles pre-season and regular season games, starting at half time and running until 2 hours post-game or until the last scheduled train.
New Jersey Institute of Technology was ranked 5th in the nation by Fortune for their online M.S. in Computer Science. The ranking is followed by NJIT's prior report from January. This report placed NJIT Ying Wu College of Computing fourth nationwide in cybersecurity and data science.
Exelon and BGE have kicked off the annual STEM Academy for female high schoolers at the University of Maryland. This event brings together more than 60 local female high school students where they will stay on campus for a week to engage in hands-on learning activities, field trips, and networking opportunities with professionals from Exelon.
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