Street Level is a strategy and innovation firm focused on equitable urban development. We apply a deep understanding of urban economics and local policymaking to drive innovation for more racially and economically inclusive cities.

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Rethinking the City

Street Level helps cities, nonprofits and philanthropy to craft strategies that ensure that everyone benefits from growth.  

We tackle the kinds of hard problems that require careful attention to detail to strike the right balance between competing interests.

Engaging Data

Suddenly, everyone seems to agree that effective social change work needs to be informed by hard data about social impact.  But that is easier said than done.  Street Level has real world experience making abstract data relevant to on the ground practitioners – where it can make the most difference.

Communicating Change

New ideas don’t take hold without support. Street Level specializes in building practical, actionable knowledge of what works. We leverage modern web technology to communicate that knowledge and develop the human capacity needed for new ideas to become every day policy.


Principal Rick Jacobus has more than 20 years experience working with cities, nonprofits and philanthropy to craft new solutions to some of society’s hardest problems.
Rick was the founder of what is now Grounded Solutions Network, a national nonprofit supporting local strategies to create permanently affordable housing. He served as an F.B. Heron Foundation Joint Practice Fellow at CoMetrics where he researched business models for the collection of social impact data. He was previously a Partner in Burlington Associates in Community Development and a Visiting Fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. He has also served as a Lecturer in the Department of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley and as a Senior Program Officer for the Local Initiatives Support Corporation.
He has a Bachelors degree from Oberlin College and a Masters of City Planning degree from the University of California at Berkeley.
Rick’s expertise and demeanor were just outstanding. He understands the dynamics of both the development community and the housing advocates.

I have always been very comfortable with him sitting down with any of those stakeholders in a room and conveying what we really want to achieve here in a way that is not threatening. That kind of emotional intelligence is something that I have not often found in other consultants.

Seattle City Council Member Mike O'Brien
As a policymaker, I really appreciated Rick’s ability to understand our specific local challenges and respond by highlighting just the right examples of what works in other cities, as well as suggesting innovations we could try. His skills and expertise helped Denver make some difficult choices.
Robin Kniech, Denver City Councilwoman