Research Associate

Location:          Chicago, Illinois
Type:                Full-time position

Category:         Community/Economic Development, Development Finance, Economics/Finance Research
Experience:      0-2 years

We are seeking a Research Associate to work with our team to support economic revitalization and the creation of high-quality places through the practice of real estate economics, development finance and urban planning. This position will assist in the planning and implementation of complex public-private real estate development projects nationally, with a focus on the Midwest. In this role, you will have the opportunity to support high-impact development from project conception to implementation. You will help evaluate development potential and financial and business impacts; project market and financial feasibility; identify innovative public-private development solutions; and prepare implementable development strategies.

As a mission-driven firm, we serve a full range of clients in the public, private and nonprofit/institutional sectors and our team is committed to understanding the complex challenges facing each community.

The ideal candidate for this position is a curious critical thinker that enjoys analyzing quantitative data. The successful candidate will be able to sift, organize, analyze and synthesize various data in a clear, timely manner, ask thoughtful questions, and draw reasonable conclusions and/or recommendations from the analysis.


  • Gathering and analyzing geospatial, demographic, market and property characteristic data;
  • Organizing and identifying inconsistencies in data;
  • Working closely with the project team to conduct preliminary data analyses;
  • Developing data visualizations, and graphics to assist in communicating findings; and
  • Refining and improving data visualization workflows.


  • Bachelor’s degree in urban planning, geography, economics, public policy or a similar field
  • Strong quantitative analysis skills, particularly using Microsoft Excel
  • Exposure to GIS (ArcMap, ArcGIS Pro, Esri Business Analyst, and/or QGIS)
  • Strength in oral communication and interpersonal skills
  • Demonstrated interest in urban planning, community and economic development or related topics
  • Demonstrated ability to meet deadlines
  • Detail orientation and accuracy

Data visualization and/or graphic design experience is desirable, but not required.


We are focused on the professional success of our employees and offer the following:

  • Competitive salary
  • Performance-based bonus compensation
  • Generous benefits package, including company-paid health and dental insurance, flex spending (pre-tax accounts for healthcare, childcare, and transit), 401k, bike share membership, vacation, parental leave, and 10+ paid holidays
  • Paid membership to a professional organization to encourage professional growth
  • Employer-backed volunteering events taking place throughout Chicago
  • Regular peer-delivered “brown bag” sessions on topics of professional interest
  • Monthly happy hours and informal staff get-togethers

All applicants will be afforded equal opportunity without discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, national origin or ancestry, citizenship or immigration status, age, physical or mental disability unrelated to ability, military status, or an unfavorable discharge from military service.


Please email the following documents to Lance Dorn at Please include "Research Associate Position" in the subject line.

  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • Written sample of your professional or academic work

Work samples should be primarily authored by the applicant; if a team project is submitted, clearly indicate the responsibilities and contributions of the applicant. Incomplete submittals or submittals in other formats may not be considered or reviewed.