CaRDI Publications

CaRDI publications provide our readers with research-based information to help foster dialogue at the local, regional and state-level, and to inform public and private decision-making around critical community and economic development issues. Our publications are written by university faculty, state agency representatives, and CCE Educators, among other partners.

These publications are free for public reproduction with proper accreditation. For questions and comments about the CaRDI publications, please contact Jennifer Jensen at

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CaRDI hosts "Smart Growth Virtual Chat"

CaRDI virtual chat
Sep 24, 2015
CaRDI is hosting occasional online conversations about recent Research & Policy Brief topics. We welcome participation from anyone interested in the topic, from community members and outreach educators to community leaders and economic development practitioners.

Or first chat will be held Thursday, September 24 at noon: "Smart Growth in NYS" hosted by David Kay and Jennifer Jensen. Consider reading our June Research & Policy Brief on the subject, but we expect the conversation to follow the interests of those who join the video chat. Bring your own experience and questions to the discussion.

The chats are scheduled for 30 minutes during the lunch hour to allow participants from across the state to connect with each other over a topic of mutual interest. All you need to participate is a phone or (to fully join in the "virtual" aspect) an Internet connection and video camera.

Contact Jennifer Jensen ( with questions about or ideas for upcoming virtual chats. Read more

Analyzing Online Reviews: New Tools for Evaluating Visitor Experiences

Evaluating visitor experiences in NYS parks
Aug 1, 2015
Issue No. 67 / Research & Policy Brief Series / August 2015
By By Hari Prasad Udayapuram and Srinagesh Gavirneni, Cornell University

The New York State (NYS) park system consists of 214 parks and historic sites, over 2,000 miles of trails, 67 beaches, and 8,355 campsites. It attracts approximately 60 million visitors every year. The State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation is responsible for operating and maintaining the state park system, and one of its strategic priorities is to “Increase, Deepen, and Improve the Visitor Experience”. Visitor feedback is integral to achieving this objective, but traditional feedback methods – public meetings, web-based surveys and comment cards – are often tedious, expensive, and limited by low participation. Public online review platforms such as TripAdvisor, offer a large volume of visitor feedback that could vastly improve how NYS park managers and other community leaders concerned with tourism or business development currently understand and improve visitor experiences. Read more

An Opportunity to Make NY Smarter about Smart Growth. Research & Policy Brief, Issue 66.

Sprawl image
Jun 1, 2015
By Russell Glynn and David Kay, Cornell University

Urban sprawl and its negative impacts have become a potent catalyst for new policy action—often termed “smart growth” policies—over the  last decade. At its worst, sprawl has drained urban and  village centers of key employment and retail opportunities while marginalizing the poor, degrading  farmland and open  space, and promoting growth in private vehicle use among those able to “buy in” to suburban living. New York State (NYS), arguably the creator of the development pattern now associated with the term, took decisive action against publicly subsidized sprawl with passage of the State Smart Growth Public Infrastructure Policy Act in 2010.

The Act seeks to prevent public subsidization of sprawl-causing activity by State infrastructure agencies... Despite the potential impact on municipal infrastructure funding, local governments' familiarity with the State Smart Growth Act has not been systematically assessed. Read more

NYS Communities and Changes to the American Community Survey

May 1, 2015
by Robin Blakely-Armitage and Jan Vink, Cornell University
In an effort to save money, the Census Bureau will eliminate its three-year American Community Survey (ACS) data program. The ACS is a survey that tracks changing economic and social conditions for a wide range of geographies, and communities and organizations use this data for grant writing, program valuation, and tracking general well-being. Data is collected on an on-going basis and tabulated for 1, 3, and 5 year periods. Up until the present, depending on population size, communities have had access to 1-year (communities 65,000+), 3-year (communities 20,000+), and 5-year tabulations (communities of all sizes). Access is more limited for smaller geographies because it takes a longer period to accumulate a sufficient sample size to produce statistically meaningful data. Read more