Sam Moeller

The People Make the Place: Announcing a New Class of Leaders

Celebrating the people making an impact at HR&A


The old adage is true — the people make the place. At HR&A, we come from diverse backgrounds, have a breadth of lived experience, and share a passion for creating places, systems, and tools that help people thrive. While the problems we tackle are often complex, the driving force behind our work is radically simple. We care. You can see this care in the mission-driven culture we have built across six offices and in the places and impact we’ve helped our clients create.



Arjun Gupta Sarma

Arjun leads product development and data science at HR&A — focusing on the intersection of quantitative methods and policy for clients across the country.



Jared Press

Jared helps local government agencies leverage public investment in infrastructure and place-based economic development to catalyze the private sector in support of long-range planning initiatives.



Lydia Gaby

Lydia leads projects that promote equitable economic development and resiliency and manages large-scale participatory planning processes.




Thomas Simpson

Thomas advises clients on devising feasible programs, building public-private partnerships, and infusing equity and innovation into visionary real estate developments.



Amelia Taylor-Hochberg

Amelia’s work focuses on organizational and governance design, sociopolitical analyses of place, and building technological infrastructure that combats disenfranchisement.



Christina De Giulio

Christina draws from a decade of community and economic development experience to guide clients from visioning to implementation of place-based strategies to advance their goals.



Erman Eruz

Erman works with state and local governments on accessing once-in-a-generation federal funds and assists with the development and implementation of broadband and clean energy projects.



Gail Hankin

Gail focuses on crafting strategies that support equitable economic development, creating vibrant and inclusive open spaces, and advising a wide array of clients on pressing urban policy issues.



Garrett Rapsilber

Garrett supports the development of sustainable, context-specific real estate and economic development strategies.



Hannah Glosser

Hannah draws on her experience in climate adaptation, stakeholder and community engagement, and economic development to support equitable and resilient practices.



Jamison Dague

Jamison advises clients through complex planning and development projects with a focus on public-private partnerships that leverage innovative funding and financing tools to create thriving and sustainable places.



Landry Doyle Wiese

Landry uses economic and strategic analysis to bridge the gap between vision and implementation — designing operating models and governance structures to put ideas into action.



Rachel Waldman

Rachel advises public, private, and non-profit clients on leveraging their existing assets, funding, and influence to promote mission-aligned real estate and affordable housing development.

Senior Analysts


Ana Licona

Ana provides guidance to government and community leaders on closing the digital divide and implementing an equitable broadband future.



Aram Kamali

Aram performs economic and policy analysis in support of efforts that advance equitable development and build community wealth.



Ariel Dames-Podell

Ariel supports real estate and economic development strategies for public and private sector clients that enable equitable growth and create transformative destinations in cities across the country.



Benjamin Cole

Ben helps local governments and nonprofits leverage funding and drive policy change. He specializes in criminal justice reform, equitable economic development, and fair housing policy.



Geon Woo Lee

Geon Woo leverages data analysis to advance climate mitigation strategies, promote transit equity, and encourage equitable development across the country.



Laura Semeraro

Laura specializes in real estate advisory, housing affordability, and economic development, supporting financial analysis and strategic advisory for public, private, and institutional clients.



Madison Morine

Madison works at the intersection of developing cultural institutions, urban open space, and comprehensive plans to help clients improve opportunities for communities.




Adina Jahan

Adina works on projects to create more inclusive cities, build digital equity, and advocate for criminal justice reform. She is guided by the principle that where you live should not determine your quality of life.



Alejandra Cabrales

Alejandra provides research and analytical support to advance sustainable and equitable placed-based solutions through economic development policy, transit-oriented development, community engagement, and governance design.



Anna Gallicchio

Anna specializes in housing affordability and economic development policy, working with city governments and non-profits to implement community-centered and data-driven solutions.



Clark Ricciardelli

Clark provides financial and data analysis for real estate development, asset repositioning, and workforce development projects across the U.S.



Lauren Kim

Lauren works on place-based projects that bring people joy. Grounded by community insights, she advocates for food justice, parks and open space, and neighborhood revitalization.



Marco Rodriguez

Marco specializes in knowledge economy, transit-oriented development, and economic development strategy, helping cities across the country become engines of innovation, inclusivity, and prosperity.



Sophia Campbell

Sophia provides research and analytical support for projects ranging from affordable housing and transit-oriented development to parks and open space.



Sophia Clark

Sophia provides analysis for real estate development, economic development strategy, and knowledge economy projects across the country.



Zada Smith

Zada works to advance equitable economic development through placemaking, strategic planning, and policy to drive better outcomes for communities.

Building Momentum in 2023

2023 is kicking off with strong momentum and high expectations in cities.


Working with some of the most innovative clients and collaborators in the world, we’re focused on building comprehensive solutions that address the complex, interconnected challenges facing urban communities. The unifying theme across this work is our passion for building more prosperous, resilient, and equitable cities for the people who live in them. We’re looking forward to great things in 2023 — building on the work we did in 2022 across 500 projects with clients in 180 cities, six countries, and three continents.


Our work includes:

Closing the Digital Divide & Leveraging Technology
Addressing the Housing Crisis
Developing Inclusive & Equitable Cities
Building Resilience in the Face of a Changing Climate
Revitalizing Downtowns & Exploring Adaptive Re-Use Strategies
Rebuilding Economies & Accessing Historic Investments in Infrastructure
Enhancing Community Assets
Living Our Values



Closing the Digital Divide & Leveraging Technology


Middle-Mile Broadband Initiative
State of California

Partners Launch Nationwide Initiative to Accelerate Energy Upgrades for Affordable Housing

Learn more about the free virtual R2E2 Summit on January 19 – 20, 2023 here.


After receiving funding from National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Rockefeller Foundation, HR&A, as part of a team led by ACEEE, is supporting the design and implementation of a national challenge to scale clean energy retrofits in the low- and moderate-income (LMI) housing market in a way that centers racial equity. The proposed national challenge will be undertaken in coordination with Rockefeller and the Department of Energy to dramatically scale up retrofits in the low- and moderate-income housing market, and drive policy and program innovation among all challenge applicants — including eligible cities, counties, and/or states and their critical private sector and nonprofit stakeholders.


In addition to serving as a technical advisor to help design and implement the challenge nationally, HR&A is leading the content development for the affordable housing and energy efficiency in affordable housing trainings and helping to facilitate the R2E2 Summit on January 19 – 20, 2023. The summit will provide programming to educate local/state government staff and community-based organizations on how to leverage federal funding and multi-sector, community-centered approaches to scale up holistic retrofits in LMI housing.

The following press release was originally published on December 1, 2022 on the The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)’s website. 


Washington, DC—Communities often left out of climate investments will receive support to develop energy-saving home retrofit strategies under the new nationwide initiative Residential Retrofits for Energy Equity (R2E2). Funded by a $2.5 million grant from The Rockefeller Foundation, $250,000 each from JPMorgan Chase and the Wells Fargo Foundation, and additional support from The JPB Foundation, R2E2 will provide training to state, local, and tribal governments as well as community-based organizations to jumpstart energy upgrades for affordable housing that will lower utility bills, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve residents’ health, create good-paying local jobs, and help advance racial equity.


Residential Retrofits for Energy Equity (R2E2) will kick off with training sessions in January on scaling up building energy retrofits and leveraging the unprecedented federal funding available from COVID-19 relief programs, the bipartisan infrastructure law, the Inflation Reduction Act, and other sources.


A partnership of the American Council for Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), Elevate, Emerald Cities Collaborative, and HR&A Advisors, R2E2 will offer guidance on energy upgrade financing models, economic inclusion, navigating the complexities of the affordable housing sector, and engaging with community-based organizations to ensure proposals reflect community needs. People’s Climate Innovation Center is advising R2E2 on centering equity in the project and its outcomes and on facilitating community-driven planning processes.


Residential Retrofits for Energy Equity will center environmental justice and racial equity to address the compounding crises of housing affordability, energy insecurity, and climate change. Energy insecurity is particularly acute in Native American, Black, and Hispanic households, which pay an average of between 20% and 45% more of their incomes on energy bills than white households but are among the least likely to receive energy upgrades. R2E2 will encourage state, local, and community teams to prioritize authentic engagement with underserved communities, bolster community priorities and leaders, advance local workforce development, and target programs to those who have historically been excluded by past policies, such as BIPOC communities, renters, and marginalized groups.


“Too many households—especially families with lower incomes—live in poorly insulated and energy-inefficient homes, leaving them with high utility bills and uncomfortable or dangerous temperatures,” said Annika Brindel, ACEEE’s director of Residential Retrofits for Energy Equity. “We are working with communities to craft a pathway to safer, more comfortable, and less expensive housing, while centering racial equity, community priorities, and local job creation.”


Henry Love, Elevate’s senior director of municipal and community programs, said: “Upgrading and decarbonizing homes makes them healthier, safer, and more resilient against a changing climate. Our approach supports communities as they develop strategies for upgrading their buildings and protecting their residents. R2E2 creates a one-stop shop for communities to get support as they create a strategy for upgrading their buildings. We’re taking a holistic approach to zero-carbon buildings in a way that benefits the communities that need it most.”


Meishka Mitchell, president and CEO of Emerald Cities Collaborative, said: “Our transition to an energy-efficient economy must include underinvested communities that have been most impacted by our history of environmental injustice. Emerald Cities Collaborative is pleased to lend its expertise in economic inclusion, workforce development, labor standards, and community benefit agreements to this valuable initiative.”


Jonathan Meyers, partner at HR&A Advisors, said: “We are excited to work with this diverse team to support a national transition toward equitable decarbonization in low- and moderate-income housing. This challenge will require a holistic response, and we have high hopes that this initiative will help transform the way housing and energy experts partner with each other and communities to improve the lives and communities of all residents.”


Corrine Van Hook-Turner, director of People’s Climate Innovation Center, said: “We are pleased to serve as the strategic advisor of R2E2, providing guidance and community-driven capacity building support to help strengthen and shape the delivery of key investments to frontline communities. In collaboration with project partners, we will continue advocating for and practicing structures and decision-making practices that are rooted in equity and justice to drive this important work.”


R2E2 will begin its training and technical assistance with an online summit on January 19 and 20. The summit will feature interactive, in-depth sessions on leveraging federal funding, community-driven planning, and the multiple benefits that residential retrofits can bring to communities. The summit is free and community-based organizations are eligible to receive stipends for their participation. Those interested in receiving periodic updates and information about the upcoming summit can sign up here.


The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a nonprofit research organization, develops policies to reduce energy waste and combat climate change. Its independent analysis advances investments, programs, and behaviors that use energy more effectively and help build an equitable clean energy future.


Elevate is a nonprofit organization that works nationally and is headquartered in Chicago. Elevate designs and implements programs to ensure that everyone has clean and affordable heat, power, and water in their homes and communities —no matter who they are or where they live.


Emerald Cities Collaborative (ECC) is a national nonprofit network of organizations working together to advance a sustainable environment while creating sustainable, just and inclusive economies with opportunities for all — an approach we call “the high road.” ECC develops energy, green infrastructure and other sustainable development projects that not only contribute to the resilience of our metropolitan regions but also ensure an equity stake for low-income communities of color in the green economy. This includes developing the economic infrastructure for family-supporting wages and career paths for residents of such communities, as well as contracting opportunities for women, BIPOC and other disadvantaged businesses.


HR&A Advisors, Inc. (HR&A) is an employee-owned company advising public, private, non-profit, and philanthropic clients on how to increase opportunity and advance quality of life in cities. We believe in creating vital places, building more equitable and resilient communities, and improving people’s lives.


People’s Climate Innovation Center brings a whole systems approach to movement building, cultivating a strong culture of designing transformative solutions that restore and regenerate healthy earth systems and built environments for all. Our approach emphasizes the need for solutions that are community-driven, interconnected, and intervene at multiple levels.

Philadelphia is ready for a public bank

This opinion piece by Andrea Batista Schlesinger was originally published in The Philadelphia Tribune.


The financial system in Philadelphia is failing its residents. Almost a quarter of Philadelphia’s population lives below the poverty line, with 1 in 10 living in deep poverty, and more residents are unbanked or underbanked than in any other major U.S. city. Philadelphians have identified a strong potential solution: creating a municipal public bank to address historic inequities in providing access to quality banking and financial services.


After years of careful planning and deliberation — including engaging HR&A Advisors to conduct a landmark study on this solution — the City Council passed legislation in March to establish the Philadelphia Public Financial Authority. There are many tools a city can use to address historic racialized gaps in the private banking system, and Philadelphia is employing some of them, but HR&A’s study revealed that the existing programs are not sufficient to address the scale of the challenge.


HR&A estimates that there is at least a $840 million lending gap for small businesses in Philadelphia — a gap that mirrors racialized patterns of inequity in the city. To address that chasm, we need a bold, innovative solution to bring stronger financial autonomy to every corner of the city, rather than the existing patchwork of pale improvements.


Philadelphia’s lowest-income neighborhoods are home to 50% of the city’s households but just 9% of the city’s small businesses. Low-income neighborhoods also have the lowest percentage of small business loans across the city. It’s no coincidence that a vast majority of small business are located in more affluent areas. Black and Latino residents are 18 times more likely to be unbanked than white residents in the Philadelphia region.


City Council adopted a plan to create a City-controlled authority that would lend direct capital to those small businesses in low-income neighborhoods. Even more importantly, if City Council follows through with funding, it could leverage the City’s municipal deposits — a massive pool of wealth that dwarfs the capacity of mission-driven credit unions or community banks.


The current system is not adequately addressing Philadelphia’s dramatic racial divides. The Philadelphia Public Financial Authority would be empowered to address these divides in multiple ways: by providing loans to small businesses in underserved neighborhoods, by financing community economic development entities to build these neighborhoods up, and by offering lower-cost banking services. The authority would also fund and foster the growth of community-benefiting initiatives like renewable energy, housing accessibility and public education. These services could transform the lives of a generation of Philadelphians who have been consistently left behind by private banking institutions.


HR&A has conducted similar public banking feasibility studies for Seattle and Lancaster, California, and is currently working on one in San Francisco. In each of these studies, HR&A found that rather than take away from existing community connections, public banking entities, if thoughtfully constructed, could help empower existing organizations like small credit unions and business that are currently underfunded. This would offer more opportunities for residents who might not have a credit score or who have been turned away by larger corporate banks.


The benefits of a tool like this at the disposal of the City would be myriad. Not only would City-controlled banking bridge lending gaps to empower more small and BIPOC-owned businesses in underserved communities, but it would also drive the economic growth that leads to more and better jobs and higher incomes. Given its mandate to act as a depository and provide cash management services, the Philadelphia Public Financial Authority would also offer the City financial independence from the private commercial banking sector, which translates into savings and local control of taxpayers’ money to ease access to capital to improve the provision of public goods and services.


Funding the Philadelphia Public Financial Authority is also a sound financial decision for the city. In the long-term, public bank dividends could help diversify the municipal revenue base, potentially decreasing reliance on property tax and sales tax revenues.


A Philadelphia Public Financial Authority public bank is an idea whose time is come, as demonstrated by City Council’s decisive 15-1 vote to approve the Philadelphia Public Financial Authority. The City of Philadelphia needs every tool at its disposal to bring necessary services to Philadelphians who have been underserved and underbanked for far too long, and by launching this bank, the City will establish the country’s first municipal public bank and become a model for the nation.