ESI Principal Richard Voith was published in the Journal of Housing Economics examining the property value impacts of affordable housing developments financed by Low-Income Housing Tax Credits - Learn More

2021 in Review

This past year was tremendous for Econsult Solutions. In 2020 we pledged to make a difference through our work and in 2021 we were honored to have been in the inaugural class of Philadelphia Foundation’s Civic 50 Greater Philadelphia. We launched our new thought leadership initiative, ESI Center for the Future of Cities, and CIOReview named us Most Promising Smart City Solutions Provider. We have completed work that was global in scope, but also regional-based and community-focused, offering insights and policy recommendations during this time of heightened importance as organizations manage through the pandemic. We are pleased to share with you some of the highlights of 2021.

Community Continually Informs What We Do

Being among the organizations named to Philadelphia Foundation’s Civic 50 Greater Philadelphia, recognizing the region’s most community-minded businesses this year, is at once an acknowledgement of our firm’s past efforts and a clarion call that we are on the right track in our on-going commitment to making a difference through our work. As our enterprise evolves, we will continue to strive to effect positive change through our multi-disciplinary thought leadership initiatives.

Our Practice Areas

In 2020 we reaffirmed the practice areas within which we primarily provide consulting services. Rather than these being silos, these sectors have both crystalized our strengths and illuminated connections between economy and community, serving to keep us fresh and well-rounded.

Economic Development

The Economic, Health, and Environmental Benefits of Completing the Capital Trails Network  Trails provide a trifecta of benefits for regions: health, environmental, and economic. We quantified and documented these benefits for the Capital Trails Coalition as they prepared to launch a campaign for support to complete the Capital Trails Network. When complete, the Capital Trails Network will interconnect the greater Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area with a safe, equitably accessible trail system for active transportation that will enhance the environment and improve property values.

The Economic Impact of Agriculture in Pennsylvania: 2021 Update Substantial disruptors have shaped the Pennsylvania Agriculture Industry in recent years; we analyzed them and forecast trends. Engaged by Team Pennsylvania having completed an economic impact study of the industry in 2018, in the update we accounted for the 2019 Pennsylvania Farm Bill, the affects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the continued impacts that climate change is having on agricultural production. We dove into the sub-sectors making up the Commonwealth’s agriculture economy, and prepared recommendations on how to leverage strengths and take advantage of industry-supporting trends.

Equity and Inclusion

Philadelphia Office of Equal Opportunity Availability Study   To help the City of Philadelphia measure its goals for M/WBE contracting, we worked with Milligan Associates to estimate the availability of minority-owned businesses for City contracts. We employed a custom census approach in order to reach businesses directly and develop a better understanding of the current small business landscape. We also considered if discrimination exists that constrains the number or capacity of such businesses. We accomplished this by evaluating the business formation rate, analyzing access to capital, and through interviews which provided the anecdotal evidence needed to round-out our evaluation.

Government and Public Policy

Constraints on New Hampshire’s Workforce Recovery   As New Hampshire accelerates its economic recovery in the early wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, ESI with NCCP provided insights into the key factors that impact workforce return to work. Our research, which started in 2019 to measure the economic implications of benefit “cliffs”, pivoted to capture the impacts that the pandemic additionally wrought on New Hampshire’s workforce. We incorporated the availability of employment as it shifted, impacting industries and communities. We evaluated the affect of the availability of childcare on employment. And, we modeled the benefit cliffs that challenge the state’s household. We provided our client with an interactive data tool allowing sorting and comparisons across jurisdictions.

Litigation Support

ESI’s Litigation Support experts remained busy this past year, providing expert reports, economic analyses, and expert testimony.

Real Estate

Sharswood III LIHTC  We completed a market analysis and housing needs assessment for the 2021 low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) application for Pennrose-Hunt Companies proposed third phase of their multiyear redevelopment project which is set to provide 217 safe, high quality, affordable housing units in a growing neighborhood of the City of Philadelphia.

Thought Leadership

Montgomery County Recovery Planning  We worked with government leaders in Montgomery County, PA helping them move forward with actionable economic strategies to emerge from the pandemic. We utilized public and private datasets to assess the pre-COVID and current economic conditions of the County. The analysis served as an important baseline to determine future recovery strategies.

Transportation and Infrastructure

 USDOT RAISE Grant Application for Wilmington, DE Riverfront Transportation  We were instrumental in the award of $17 million from USDOT’s highly competitive Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program to the City of Wilmington. We also assisted Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority in their award of $15 million for trolley station upgrades.

Universities and Hospitals

Our report for Knoxville College, A Plan to Thrive, A Pledge to Keep: How Knoxville College Will Positively Impact Economy, Community, and Society as it Grows, is an assessment produced for the college that went beyond the economic metrics to speak to the broader import of the College’s growth aspirations.

Strategic Initiatives

ESI Center for the Future of Cities was launched following the publication of ESI’s third global, evidence-based research initiative, Smart City Solutions for a Riskier World, a deep dive survey, analysis, and inquiry of the innovative technologies, solutions, and business models that city leaders can use to ready for the next disruption. ESI also provided research and analysis for Cognizant’s Jobs of the Future Index.

Being recognized in 2021 as CIOReview’s Most Promising Smart City Solution Provider is an honor as we set out sights on developing a series of thought leadership initiatives within the ESI Center for the Future of Cities during 2022. Look for more on this during the month of January.

U.S.-China Policy Research  Architectural Design Competition for Chengdu Future Science and Technology City ESI and ANBOUND teamed up with Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, SWA Group, and Arup to participate in the Architectural Design Competition for The Future Science and Technology City of Chengdu Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone, organized by The Reform and Planning Administration Bureau of Chengdu Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone, and Chengdu Hi-tech Investment Group Co., Ltd. The competition received more than 100 entrants from all over the world. Our team was shortlisted and won third place in the final round of competition.

This list touches on some of the highlights. A perusal of the Our Impact section of the Econsult Solutions website will show the breadth and depth of the work we complete for our clients. We are looking forward to a busy and fulfilling 2022!

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