Understand Your Place

Communities trust and support research findings and analysis when they have opportunities to be involved from the beginning. Harbinger builds an understanding of your place from the ground up, employing a collaborative approach to regional economic analyses, economic impact projections, visitor and resident surveys, outdoor recreation assessments, and peer area reviews. You get more than talking points from this work—you get leverage to move forward.


Examples of our work

Mission San Jose  (NPS photo)

Mission San Jose (NPS photo)

San Antonio, Texas

potential economic impact of world heritage site designation

In 2013, Harbinger produced an economic impact study outlining potential benefits of World Heritage Site inscription for San Antonio’s five Spanish Colonial Missions. The study detailed recommendations for leveraging this designation for maximum community advantage, based on experiences of other World Heritage Sites around the world.

In 2015, the missions joined a select group of the world’s most distinctive cultural and natural areas on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Since that time, San Antonio has enthusiastically embraced its new identity as a World Heritage community.

Study findings are summarized in Building on a Strong Foundation: Potential Economic Impacts of World Heritage Site Designation for the San Antonio Missions and detailed in a technical report also available at the link above.

Glen Iris Inn  (Adobe Stock jonbilius)

Glen Iris Inn (Adobe Stock jonbilius)

letchworth gateway villages, New York

visitor research for marketing and promotion

Letchworth Gateway Villages is a municipal collaboration designed to catalyze economic growth and new tourism-related market opportunities for the communities that serve as “gateways” to Letchworth State Park.

Harbinger worked with LGV in 2017 to conduct a visitor survey and other research and analysis to better understand the area’s visitor market, identify strategic market segments, and single out some of the most promising tourism-related market opportunities that align with the region’s strengths.

Findings are detailed in the Letchworth Gateway Villages Initiative 2017 Visitor Survey: Summary of Findings + Strategic Directions report.

Delaware River  (NPS photo)

Delaware River (NPS photo)

delaware water gap national recreation area, pennsylvania & New jersey

regional economic analysis

In 2014-15, Harbinger applied its collaborative research model to explore the economic significance of Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area to a five-county region in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Working with local business, government, conservation, and other community leaders and park staff, Harbinger detailed the park’s role in sustaining economic vitality, its value as a community partner, and its critical place as an anchor in a larger landscape of conserved and natural areas. The process also identified opportunities to protect and expand the park’s economic significance and overall value to the community over time.

Making Connections: Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area was the fourth in a series of five Making Connections reports Harbinger completed in collaboration with the National Parks Conservation Association’s Mid-Atlantic regional office.


Research and analysis

Harbinger provides research and analysis services for public-facing projects such as:

The same qualitative and quantitative approaches support program development and other internally focused research projects. Examples include:

  • exploring military use of historic battlefields or visitation trends for the American Battlefield Trust, and

  • documenting community leadership programs or internal research findings on connections between community and health for the Kettering Foundation.

(Above: Civil War reenactment, National Park Service photo)