The North Broad Renaissance (NBR), in partnership with ESI, released its 2022 State of North Broad report that highlights efforts to spur stronger and more inclusive growth along the North Broad Street corridor. The report comes ahead of the Annual State of North Broad fundraiser that achieved record-breaking fundraising of more than $100,000 that the NBR will reinvest back into the corridor. In addition, the report highlights development in growth in areas of population, employment, and development, and also features opportunities to ensure that the efforts being made in these areas are equitable and inclusive.
As we near the end of 2021, we looked at our highest viewed blog posts of the year! Thanks to staff, senior advisors, clients, and colleagues that contributed to Present Value in 2021. We’re looking forward to 2022 to continue showing our expertise among our practice areas for further engaging discussions with our experts.
Who will take the top spot as our most viewed blog post of the year? Scroll down to find out!
10. Wealth and Asset Management 4.0: Expert Views on Preparing for a New Era by Anna Sztrenfeld
9. Our Contribution to the Contemporary Equity and Inclusion Conversation by Lee Huang and Frank Robinson
8. Cybersecurity: A Smart City Imperative by Laura Garcell Nimylowycz
7. What is the Future of Museums? by Kyle Nguyen
6. How will the 2021 Stimulus Checks Impact Philadelphia’s Economy? by Rebecca DeJoseph and Julia Flanagan
5. ESI Experts Weigh in on the Future of Philadelphia’s Housing Market by Jing Liu, Richard Voith, Gina Lavery, and Frank Robinson
4. After US and China Alaska Meeting: A 2021 Outlook for US-China Relations by ESI and ANBOUND Contributors
3. Post Pandemic Cities – Is Being a Smart City the Solution? by ESI and ANBOUND Contributors
1. The Relationship Between Community and Economic Development by Rysheema Dixon
Take time from your busy schedule as we head into this Thanksgiving to be grateful for good health and good food! While recovering from all the turkey you can eat, check out our Thanksgiving light read, where you can find recent blog posts and reports from ESI, as well as other interesting and relevant news happening around the world. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at ESI!
The latest from ESI’s Present Value Blog
- Making the Case for Shopping Local by Mike Daly
- Public Transportation is Needed to Maintain an Equitable City by Kennedy Sampson
- Most Promising Smart City Solution Provider in 2021! by Lee Huang
- The Role of Cities in Growing the Renewable Energy Market by Lindsay Durkalec
- How Can a Green Recovery Strategy Help Museums? by Joyce Lee
What We’ve Been Working on
- The Important Contributions of the Member Institutions of the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities
- ImpactPHL Ventures Marks 5 Years: Seeding Tech and Innovation-Driven Impact for Philadelphia Region’s Future
- Newark Connected City
This month we highlighted our work on real estate and how we have assisted clients in this practice area. Econsult Solutions’ real estate practice marries academic-level rigor with real world experience to provide government and private sector clients with a wide range of analyses, advice, planning, and presentation.
More Articles of Interest
- House passes $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that includes transport, broadband and utility funding, sends it to Biden by Jacob Pramuk, CNBC
- The UN Climate Summit Is Over—and Nobody’s Happy by Mark Hertsgaard, Mother Jones
- Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2022, PWC
A strained system pushed to its limits
During the past 20+ months, businesses of all sizes have had to grapple with the tumultuous and lasting impacts of COVID-19. Overnight and in an instant, our buzzing commercial corridors went eerily silent. Activity came to a standstill. Certain operations became essential, while others struggled to determine what happens next. Here in the U.S., our federal system stepped in and raced to provide relief where possible. Even after all of this, many businesses went permanently dark, while others continue to battle with uncertainty across the globe.
Our supply chains have been totally upended. There has been no end in sight when it comes to shortages, be it workers, raw materials, essential goods, and services, for a variety of reasons. We have been left to examine our methods of production, distribution, and consumption, as well as the fragile network we often take for granted. Now more than ever, we must assess our ways of doing business and build a system that meets the demands of the 21st century in a more flexible and sustainable manner.
Why shop small?
All of this has made the world feel just a little smaller, at least for me. At the height of social distancing guidelines, my world became just a few short blocks in any direction of South Philly. I’m sure many readers will have had a similar experience. The pandemic has given me a new perspective on the global and local dynamics at play. As we edge closer to the holiday season, I can’t help but have these issues at the forefront of my decision-making process for buying gifts this year.
I’ll be the first to admit, during this ongoing ordeal, I have focused less on where I purchase everyday items, and more about will I be able to actually get those items within a reasonable timeframe. For me, I hope to never see a run on toilet paper or milk at the local market ever again. But on a more profound level, as I look around my neighborhood, I no longer just see storefronts. I see investment in my community. I see neighbors who have boldly continued to serve residents as best they can with what resources they have. I see the money I spend as a more meaningful tool that directly impacts the place where I work and reside.
Research produced by ESI has shown that every dollar you spend at a small business creates, on average, an additional 50 cents of economic activity. That’s money which cycles back into our communities through additional spending. That’s investment in your favorite local coffee shop, bookstore, theater, hair salon, restaurant, and more. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and are vital to establishing a sense of place within our towns and cities. So, for this holiday season (and all of 2022 and beyond) make sure you consider the immense power that comes with every purchase and transaction you take part in.
Things to consider
- Shop local, when feasible
- Consider joining your local food co-op
- Purchase gift cards from your favorite local spots this holiday season
- Consider donating to local organizations and businesses (whether its time or financial) that support your community
- Make sure to lend your voice by providing positive online reviews of your experiences
- Visit a new neighborhood or commercial corridor and discover your new favorite place
Mike Daly is a Senior Business Development and Marketing Associate at Econsult Solutions, Inc. (ESI), where he supports the marketing and business development team. In addition to assisting with proposals, he is responsible for enhancing ESI’s brand and work through traditional and social media, content development for the web, and managing the ESI blog, Present Value.
Over the past 18 months, museums and other cultural organizations have been forced to adapt and adjust their strategies in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and social justice turmoil. Forced closure, visitor restrictions and economic dislocation have impacted museum financial positions, and is forcing new creative approaches to organizational financial sustainability.
One of the approaches that some museums are considering is the adoption of “green” energy and building management approaches. These strategies can have multiple benefits – they can reduce costs by reducing energy and maintenance costs, and they can help the institution reduce its carbon footprint, helping their community to reach environmental goals and objectives. They also have an opportunity to engage and educate donors and visitors who have an interest in environmental sustainability.
To learn more about how these strategies are playing out in the museum sector, Indigo JLD and Econsult Solutions collaborated to build a survey to collect information about augmented funding and turnkey project development and execution, all with an emphasis on best practices in the museum sector. Our Green Recovery survey positioned museums to address climate justice and diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) issues, which are subjects on the minds of today’s donors and the visiting public.
The survey questions varied around the organization’s overall carbon footprint, to if they had an in-house “Green Team”. We were fortunate enough to collect data from 25 museums based in the U.K and U.S and would like to thank the respondents for taking time out to fill in our survey.
Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the answers.
A surprising 44% of the survey takers didn’t know their organization’s facility or overall carbon footprint, while only 12% replied yes and 24% said no, but that they knew where to look. What should museums do to tackle this conundrum?
One of our questions asked was regarding if an organization’s ‘green team’ was in-house. A majority (48%) of respondents answered that this was “not yet in place”. If a museum can bring together a team or outsource members to help them with this, more museums would know their carbon footprint. Several smaller museums don’t have the tools and facilities, or investment to overcome this hindrance and require some sort of assistance.
We were impressed by the fact that 68% of our survey takers were employed at a leadership level and 32% were mid-level employees. However, it was disappointing to observe that only 16% of respondents would retain or hire a sustainability manager.
To be able to achieve long-term environmental improvement goals, organizations need to have a capital master plan with an understanding of how investment can assist them in different areas. We asked our survey takers the outlook of their organization’s capital master plan. 42% of the respondents replied that they were 1-5 years ahead and only 25% answered 5-10 years ahead. If museums want to be sustainable, they need to plan and think further ahead in support of long term community climate change goals. We also asked respondents what their organization’s most needed capital assistance was. We were not surprised to see that 57% needed weatherization of buildings, as most museum buildings are old and require maintenance.
What should museums in the cultural sector do expediate green recovery? Museums need to pivot to be more sustainable and they can do so by addressing energy saving retrofits. Over 20% of surveyors did not know if their organization had done energy saving retrofits in the past ten years.
Solar energy is a renewable form of energy everyone is taking advantage of, we observed that 42% of respondents said that their organization has done energy saving retrofits for at least some of the lighting within their organization. Hence, company’s need to formulate capital masterplans or campaigns to identify problems. 42% of respondents said that they had one ongoing plan and 17% said they were planning one soon.
If museums continue to keep an outward looking perspective, they can help tackle climate change reduce their overall carbon footprint.
Joyce is a leader in sustainability and institutional real estate with a focus on cultural facilities. She developed policy expertise as Chief Architect at the New York City Office of Management and Budget under Mayor Bloomberg working with PlaNYC and a City Charter asset management program. Her work on health and sustainability continues in her practice today. Her past portfolio includes the US Green Building Council, International Well Building Institute/Delos, Queens Botanical Gardens, Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of the American Revolution, and the Tech Museum.
Shaum Arora was a Drexel University Co-Op and Marketing Assistant with ESI from April-September 2021. Shaum is currently majoring in Economics and minoring in Philosophy.
The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York is purported to have said that the way to build a great city is simple: “Create a great university and wait 200 years.” There is no doubt a profound truth in this statement. All great cities contain at least one great university. And all great universities aspire in part to make the city they’re located in a great city.
But, in 2021 and beyond, what does it mean for a city to be great? And what does it mean for a university to contribute to a great city? For anyone who cares about cities or universities, these are questions worth exploring.
To begin with, there is a sad irony in Senator Moynihan’s statement. Through the years, many universities have had ambivalent or worse feelings about the cities in which they’re located. Some erected walls to demarcate “their” space or constructed other barriers to keep outsiders out. Others cultivated an intellectual separation from the community around them, as if interacting with “the real world” would taint their lofty academic explorations. Hence the imagery of “the ivory tower,” hardly a welcoming posture from universities to their surrounding communities. There has got to be a connection between great cities and great universities, right? And yet all too often that connection has been cold and distant.
Thankfully, this is changing. Universities are pivoting hard from “ivory tower” to “engaged campus,” because they understand that fulfilling their core institutional mission requires two-way engagement, for campus to feel accessible to the local community and for students and staff to see the whole region as classroom and laboratory.
What makes cities great – commercial vibrancy, cultural expression, and diverse perspectives – demands the participation of universities. Universities that contribute in these ways have a long and bright future ahead of them, because this is responsive to what the marketplace is demanding of them now:
- Communities need universities to act like the anchor institutions they are, which is to say that their futures are inextricably tied together, so universities must serve, engage, and invest in ways that are mutually beneficial and sustainable.
- Students and employers alike need universities to synchronize their academic offerings to future workforce needs. This means topics, content, instructional formats, and credentialing pathways that prepare participants for the real world by mirroring the real world.
- Regions need universities to connect on-campus human capital and research infrastructure to the local business community, for this is what produces innovations that forge new ventures, birth entirely new industries, and strengthen economic competitiveness.
- Society needs universities to cultivate culturally diverse and inter-disciplinary communities on campus, which interact with real people and real problems in real time, for this is what advances human knowledge and yields solutions to the world’s thorniest challenges.
- Regions that feature affordable universities and colleges have a local economy consisting of individuals that tend to have a relatively more stable financial situation, which benefits society as a whole. More expensive higher education institutions leave graduates strapped with immense debt, leaving less opportunities for a successful financial future.
The higher education sector displayed evidence of tumult even before COVID. And after a year and a half of unprecedented disruption and uncertainty, future directions and basic survival are even more up in the air. But the universities of the future that behave in these ways – whether they are big or small, STEM or liberal arts, well-endowed or financially lean – will thrive, and will in turn help make the great cities of the future. And the universities that do not meet the moment in these ways risk not making it to the future.
Lee Huang brings over 20 years of experience in economic development experience to Econsult Solutions’ (ESI) public, private, institutional, and not-for-profit clients. He leads consulting engagements in a wide range of fields, including higher education, economic inclusion, environmental sustainability, historic preservation, real estate, and neighborhood economic development. His higher education clients have included Carnegie Mellon University, Emory University, University of Chicago, University of Notre Dame, University of Pennsylvania, and the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities.
Ardy Wurtzel, Associate Director | [email protected]
Ardy Lynn Wurtzel is an Associate Director at Econsult Solutions, Inc. At ESI, Ms. Wurtzel leads projects in the areas of economic development, higher education, public policy, transportation and real estate. Prior to joining ESI, Ms. Wurtzel worked as an adjunct professor of Economics at several universities, including Temple University, Arcadia University, and Rutgers University.