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Meet Director of Research & Analysis Anya Chan

  • Insights
by The Streetsense Collective

Welcome back to our Spotlight series where we get to know the people that make the magic happen in our creative collective. Pull up a chair because we’re sitting down for a Q&A with Director of Research & Analysis Anya Chan.


Q: What does the Research and Analysis team offer our clients? 

A: We are within the consulting practice, so we work closely with both the Public Non-Profit solutions team, as well as with private sector developers—the Real Estate Strategy team. We are a small team, so we have to be flexible and collaborative with those other, small teams. 


As far as what we offer our clients, I’d say it falls into two verticals. One is more place-based: helping our clients understand development opportunities across real estate assets. So whether it’s retail, office, it’s usually mixed-use, it’s often a combination with residential—we help them understand opportunities within their site and their market. 


We also help clients understand who their audience will be, and we work closely with the Branding team on that, because a lot of that drives brand decisions. 


Essentially, we are the first step in the process, telling clients how much and what to build. 


Q: Tell us about your background. How did you end up at Streetsense?

A: I have been in research for my entire career. I studied economics and worked in economic development in various ways. Early in my career, I did policy research and I supported local governments working for an association. It was all economic development and transportation and infrastructure focused. Then I went to the private sector, where I did business and financial consulting and research. But I was never in the real estate industry though it was something I was always fascinated by—especially from the research standpoint, there’s just so much data. 


Streetsense bridges the public and private practice side, and its focus on the qualitative side of research really drew me in. We offer storytelling and consultative research, not just reports and databases. 


Q: In your opinion, what’s the most important thing that informs good research?

A: Right now, I think it’s ground-truthing. The data is important, and will always be important, but ground-truthing the numbers through primary research, interviews, and focus groups to find out what is actually happening on the ground is the most important. It’s really direct insights from whoever is actually there. It’s the qualitative side. 


Q: What is your team’s personality like? What do you talk about for fun? 

A: I have never worked in a creative organization before, and that’s what really attracted me to Streetsense. I came from a pretty corporate-feeling environment before. Research is a much more technical thing than most of what Streetsense offers, and our analysts are a bit more technical, but they also have really creative sides. We have backgrounds from brokerage to design and creative. 


We’re a tight-knit team. We talk about whatever is on our individual minds! Our team really straddles the left-right brain idea. 


Q: What do you do in your free time that inspires your work?

A: Traveling. It’s witnessing the dynamic and different environments that have completely different purposes. For instance, when I travel for skiing, obviously it’s very destination-focused and seasonal. I recently went to Europe for the first time in many years (like most of us), and loved witnessing how those downtown environments grew organically—obviously, they have much more history and are so different than the things we see and work on here. An example from my most recent trip would be Krakow. It’s the quintessential downtown square, and is bordered by this huge castle. Talk about mixed-use! 



By determining highest and best use, defining market insights and trends, and helping clients understand their target audiences and how to build for, attract, and communicate with them, our Research and Analysis team defines the market insights and trends that fuel all of our multidisciplinary services—ranging from Brand to Real Estate Strategy to Public Non-Profit Solutions.


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