From the Vault: Features on Sustainability and Urban Resilience

In this Present Value post, we look back on thought provoking reads focused on the growing threat of climate change, the need for sustainability policies and practices, and how communities big and small are working to foster urban resilience. From the Paris Climate Agreement to the latest in EV policy trends, combatting urban heat, and building more interconnected and environmentally friendly cities, ESI’s staff and senior advisors have been at the forefront of examining these issues from an economic and environmental standpoint. As part of this effort, Econsult Solutions established ESI Center for the Future of Cities, a strategic initiative with one goal; making cities and regions of all sizes and shapes more competitive, livable, and equitable.

On Monday, April 22, 2024 ESI Center For the Future of Cities officially released its Climate Resilience Index that presents a framework for developing a standardized assessment of cities’ preparedness and adaptive capacity to withstand and recover from climate-related challenges. By understanding the complex range of strengths and challenges in addressing climate change, leaders around the world can cultivate collaboration and make better informed decisions. The full Climate Resilience Index can be downloaded by clicking here.


Sustainability in the Greatest Challenge of All Time and Here is Why
Rob Fleming, Senior Advisor | Originally published on February 4, 2022

Rob Fleming critically examines sustainability efforts and demonstrates how empathy can create long-term change on a global scale to achieve an authentically sustainable future. Rob is an award-winning educator, author, LEED accredited professional and architect. He is the Director of Online Innovation where he develops executive education programs focused on sustainable design and design leadership.


Is Philly Ready for Climate Change?
Terry Gillen, Senior Advisor | Originally published on February 19, 2016

As representatives from the entire world convened in Paris to discuss climate change, the City of Philadelphia released its own report on how the city needs to adapt to the various threats posed by the effects of global warming. Terry Gillen discusses the City’s steps toward climate-readiness and sheds light on the strategies that could help reduce climate-related risks.


The Philly Tree Plan: Sowing the Seeds of a Greener, More Sustainable City
Melissa Wright, Associate Director | Originally published on March 24, 2023

Melissa Wright details the Philly Tree Plan, an initiative of the City of Philadelphia aimed at bolstering the city’s tree canopy and provides an overview of the economic and environmental benefits associated with this strategic plan. Developed in partnership with the urban planning consultancy Hinge Collective, and in alignment with the Philadelphia City Planning Commission’s Philadelphia 2025 Comprehensive Plan and the Greenworks sustainability plan, the Philly Tree Plan calls for a sizable investment in tree planting and care across Philadelphia, with a primary focus on communities determined to be in highest need of additional tree cover.


Trail Infrastructure’s Role in Equitable Economic Development
Originally published on June 25, 2021

Gina Lavery talks about the demand for trail infrastructure and the role trails have in driving equitable economic development with NV5’s Matt Ludwig and Niles the East Coast Greenway Alliance’s Niles Barnes. In 2019, ESI worked with engineering firm NV5 to complete Investing in Our Future, a study of the impacts of the East Coast Greenway on the Greater Philadelphia region.


Funding Public Water: The Protection/Commodity Conundrum
Kash Srinvasan, Senior Advisor | Originally published on February 23, 2018

Kash Srinvasan focuses on the ever-growing importance of finding an equitable way to fund water infrastructure and outlines the need for a new approach. As Principal of the Kash Srinivasan Group, his practice builds on extensive public sector experience involving stewardship of municipal water and wastewater systems, pollution mitigation, greenhouse gas reduction, waste management, and recycling programs.


Midstream on the Energy Future: The Passive House Standard
Brian Uher, Senior Advisor | Originally published on October 5, 2018

Brian Uher recounts his trip to the Annual Passive House Institute United States Conference. In his article, Uher dives into how the Passive House standard originated and the future of net zero building. Brian is a LEED accredited professional, has been HERS/RESNET certified, a BPI analyst and envelope professional and has taught the Green Remodeling course for the Washington, DC chapter of National Association of the Remodeling Industry. He has also held a Passive House Consultant certification (residential and commercial standards).


Perspectives from U.S. & China: Smart City Innovation & Technology
Originally published on May 24, 2019

ANBOUND staff including Chief Researcher Chen Gong and ESI’s Steve Wray and Sidney Wong offer their thoughts on smart city innovation and technology. ESI and ANBOUND formed a strategic partnership in 2019, and are committed to providing research and consulting services to clients, expanding their horizons through in-depth international collaboration, and jointly proposing public policy recommendations and solutions for promoting high-quality economic development. ANBOUND is a multinational independent think tank based in China and Malaysia, which specializes in public policy research covering geopolitics and international relations, urban and social development, industrial issues, and macro-economy.


Prioritizing Equity in EV Infrastructure Planning with Data
Kendra Hills, Fellow, ESI Center for the Future of Cities | Originally published on April 12, 2022

Kendra Hills examines the adoption of electric vehicles (EV) and how policymakers and planners should prioritize EV infrastructure. Hills considers the extraordinary potential of EV infrastructure, as well as some of the drawbacks. She postulates that, using data and powerful analytical tools, EV can become more effective, accessible, and equitable.


3 Ways to Make Cities More Inclusive
Shaum Arora, Business Development & Marketing Intern | Originally published on August 13, 2021 

Drexel Co-op and Marketing Assistant Shaum Arora explains how cities around the world can be more inclusive by incorporating the United Nation’s sustainable development goals.


Four Considerations When Building a Climate Resilient Economy
N.K. Ezeobele, Associate Director | Originally published on March 29, 2024

N.K. Ezeobele discusses the importance of climate resilient economies in her post. Through strategies such as investment in green infrastructure, adoption of renewable energy technologies, implementation of smart city solutions and more, cities can prepare for climate change better.


Sustainable Cities Take the Lead
Suzanne Biemiller, Senior Advisor | Originally published September 29, 2017

Suzanne Biemiller explains how cities including Philadelphia can help influence the agenda for climate change and the environment.



Mike Daly, Business Development Manager | [email protected]

Mike Daly is a business development manager at ESI, where he oversees the business development and marketing team. He is responsible for enhancing the firm’s brand and work through traditional and social media, producing content for the company website, managing the firm’s blog, Present Value, and supporting the development of strategic initiatives. Prior to joining the firm, Mike was a marketing associate for the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, a membership organization whose mission is to build a just, green, and thriving economy in the Greater Philadelphia region.

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