Now hiring: Research Analyst


Smart Growth America seeks a skilled research analyst with 2 to 6 years of experience to conduct technical and quantitative analyses regarding a wide variety of issues associated with the built environment and transportation, including economics, housing, real estate development, social equity, and the environment. The analyst will report to the vice president for economic development, and work across a number of programs, including TOD and real estate work, economic development, and other transportation and community technical assistance programs.

Smart Growth America’s Economic Development Team works to create an economy that fully recognizes and acts upon the social, economic, environmental, and quality of life benefits and costs of different development patterns, especially those associated with inclusive walkable neighborhoods, communities, towns and cities, to ensure that the smart growth vision is fully realized with inclusiveness and opportunity for all. Smart Growth America is a national nonprofit that empowers communities through technical assistance, advocacy, and thought leadership to create livable places, healthy people, and shared prosperity.

Position description. An ideal candidate will have a quantitative mindset with exceptional data analysis and GIS skills, background and experience applying and developing ideas for new research, along with a dedication to achieving smarter growth. This position will provide evidence-based advice building on leading-edge research to policy makers across the country about how and why to build sustainable communities. It will support SGA’s work providing technical assistance in economic development and community revitalization.

Professional qualifications. A successful candidate will have a demonstrated interest in public policy or urban planning issues, and care about changing America’s built environment. Candidates should have the confidence and ability to independently design, manage, and conduct multiple research assignments with minimal supervision, while working in a collaborative environment. Candidate should have 2 to 6 years of related experience; a graduate degree in urban planning, public policy, economics, real estate, or geography is preferred. Most importantly, candidates should have a quantitative mindset with exceptional data analysis skills, including the following specific skills:

  • Working knowledge of ESRI’s ArcGIS.
  • Familiarity with descriptive and inferential statistics (especially regression analysis), and with statistical packages (SPSS, Stata, R). Ability to apply statistics to inform overall analysis and policy recommendations.
  • Ability to analyze and synthesize large amounts of data to the most salient points. Familiarity and ability to use key data sets, including familiarity with U.S. Census data, as well as various statistics from US DOT (Bureau of Transportation Statistics), state, local, and MPO data sets. Ability to find key data sets, download and process the data, and prepare data for analysis. Ability to interpret and assess trends in large data sets.
  • Working knowledge of MS Excel for moderate to advanced data analysis (pivot tables, macros, moderate-to-advanced Excel functions).
  • Ability to handle large data sets, and automate repetitive tasks. Familiarity with MS Access, R, Python, SQL highly desirable, and other databases.
  • Ability to explain the results of technical analysis utilizing data visualization software such as Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop.
  • Ability to explain the results of technical analysis, both orally and in writing, to less technically-trained audiences.
  • Detail-oriented and motivated to be accurate, with strong writing skills.
  • Ability to prioritize and efficiently deal with multiple assignments; a “self-starter,” capable of learning on the job when necessary, ability to work in teams.

Responsibilities. The position will provide many opportunities for innovative solutions that utilize quantitative and software skills. (For example: Previously, we have written scripts to aggregate Census data and integrate with online mapping platforms.) Typical projects may include:

  • Fiscal analyses of alternative development patterns
  • Estimating value capture potential for transit-oriented development revenue to finance new transit or other community benefits
  • Market analyses to determine demand for different development products at a particular development site
  • Analysis of revitalization plans for a small town downtown
  • Analysis of the economic impacts of a complete streets project
  • Analyzing metropolitan development and real estate market trends
  • Developing research proposals including scopes of work and budgets
  • Writing reports, and preparing and/or delivering presentations

Compensation. Salary commensurate with experience and will range between $62,000-$75,000. Benefits include health insurance, 401k, and paid vacation and paid sick time.

Location. This position is located in downtown Washington D.C.

How to apply. Please send a resume, cover letter, three references, and two examples of work products (including one demonstration of data visualization work) to [email protected], with “Research Analyst” in the subject line. Applications will be accepted immediately on a rolling basis until the position is filled. In your cover letter, please indicate how you learned of this opportunity.

Equal Opportunity Employment. Equal opportunity and having a diverse staff are fundamental principles at Smart Growth America.Employment and promotional opportunities are based upon individual capabilities and qualifications without regard to race, color, religion, gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation/preference, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status or any other protected characteristic as established under law.

Smart Growth America is committed to building a diverse staff and strongly encourages applications from candidates of color.

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