Research Analyst (Sustainable Communities) via Idealist

National Trust for Historic Preservation

Seattle, WA, United States 🇺🇸


With direction and support from the Associate Director of Research, the Research Analyst will assist the Preservation Green Lab (PGL) team in conducting groundbreaking research on the current performance and untapped potential of cities’ existing building stock. The Research Analyst will play a significant role in developing and executing research projects that support the Green Lab’s work to demonstrate the inherent value of older and historic buildings and integrate building reuse and retrofitting into cities’ sustainable urban development strategies. The Green Lab’s research and data are leveraged across the work of the National Trust – a large and matrixed non-profit advocacy organization – as well by national, regional and local partners in the preservation and urban planning fields.


The Research Analyst will have three key responsibilities:

• Assisting the Associate Director of Research in developing and executing research methodologies related to the current performance and untapped potential of cities’ existing building stock; • Collecting, processing, mapping, and analyzing data related to building characteristics and building performance in cities and towns across the nation; and • Leading data visualization efforts related to these research projects, including the production of infographics, interactive maps, and dashboards.

The Research Analyst will carry out these responsibilities in support of the Preservation Green Lab’s building reuse and GIS mapping projects and the National Trust’s overall work to support the conservation and reuse of existing buildings. All projects are highly complex and financially valuable with around $100,000 of projected work required for each. Specific projects include:

• Urban Preservation Atlas: The Urban Preservation Atlas is a national online data platform that will measure and illustrate the connections between the built fabric of American cities and key indicators of livability, diversity, and resilience. The Atlas extends the mapping methodology established in the PGL’s “Older, Smaller, Better” report to additional cities and adds additional interactivity and data visualizations.

• Livable Cities Priority: The National Trust for Historic Preservation has launched a major new initiative to advance the conservation and reuse of existing buildings as a strategy for more vibrant, mixed income, and resilient cities. This work includes research and demonstration projects with data analysis and mapping components.

• Demonstration Projects: The Green Lab works with other National Trust departments and partners in communities across the country to implement and test new approaches to preservation-based sustainable development. Current demonstration projects are underway in Louisville, KY; Detroit, MI; Jacksonville, FL, and Miami, FL.

Additionally, all projects will require candidates to complete the following duties in their day-to-day work:

• Increase potential revenue/earned income by completing all consulting and data collection/mapping on a timely, reliable and accurate manner within funder, vendor and client deliverable deadlines. • Act as liaison between internal team and external stakeholders by regularly meeting with managers including Associate Director to create summary reports for clients. • Analyze and coordinate team activity both at Preservation Green Lab and across the National Trust as requested by supervisor. • Propose innovative solutions to impact project success. • Resolve simple contractual issues as they arise including deliverables formats during data acquisition. • Support managers in project management models including helping to forecast resource requirements.


Qualified candidates must be comfortable taking a leading role at the forefront of urban research on the existing built environment. They must be aware of research, trends, and literature in the field of urban sustainability and place-making, and able to deploy creative and critical thinking on how to most effectively measure, map, and visualize data related to buildings, blocks, and districts.

The successful candidate will have a deep and vital understanding of — and willingness to champion — the reuse of older buildings. The Research Analyst will play a major role in designing and implementing ground-breaking research that will help lower the rate of demolitions in the United States and help older and historic buildings achieve better performance through pragmatic and profitable means, while maintaining their integrity and value.

Relevant skill sets include: • At least 3-5 years of professional experience in a related field, particularly in a matrixed and geographically dispersed non-profit. • Experience and comfort working across multiple desktop and web-based GIS applications and statistical packages. Top candidates will have familiarity with PostGreSQL, R, and/or Python. • Demonstrated ability to produce powerful infographics and other data visualizations that communicate complex data in an intuitive and easily understood way. Top candidates will have experience working in multiple data visualization software platforms. • Demonstrated ability to think critically and creatively to formulate and execute innovative research methodologies and strategies for data collection and analysis. • Extensive familiarity with publicly available datasets, including but not limited to the realm of buildings, streets, utilities, businesses, sales, real estate values, real estate finance, demographics, employment, income, energy and water use. • Familiarity with advanced urban design, urban policy and real estate concepts. A broad understanding of the larger context of urban policy, sustainability policy, smart growth, and district-level thinking in which the PGL operates. • Demonstrated thought leadership and ability to think strategically in both technical and political context. Ability to generate new ideas, and to think creatively about how best to most effectively and strategically link the Green Lab’s work with that of other partners, and to tackle research questions in the most resource-efficient way possible. • Intermediate analytical and problem solving skills, including issue identification and prioritization. • Intermediate to advanced project-management skills and demonstrated ability to complete multiple complex and robust project, implementing independently and achieving results with moderate supervision. • Proven ability to collaborate across divisions to implement processes and achieve results. Track record of building and maintaining productive relationships with multiple stakeholders. • Ability to prioritize, multi-task efficiently and respond to a high volume of ongoing requests in a timely fashion. • Entrepreneurial spirit and skill set desired, with ability to help identify opportunities for growth with a potential for follow-on business. • Effective presentation skills. Excellent verbal and written communication skills, with experience leading conference panels and address large audiences. • Demonstrated success in engaging culturally diverse audiences, partners and colleagues. • In addition to specific software sills above, Intermediate knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel PowerPoint and other Microsoft products, with proven ability to continually develop skills related to use of rapidly changing technology and communications best practices. • Willingness to travel frequently within North America. • Bachelor’s degree in geography, urban studies, economics, public policy, or related fields. Master’s degree preferred but not required.