About Us

What is the Community & Regional Development Institute (CaRDI)?

CaRDI is a group of research and outreach faculty and professionals working in critical areas of community development. A federation of programs including LEAD-NY, the Cornell Farmworker Program, the Rural Schools Association, and Rust 2 Green partner with other CaRDI faculty working in areas such as land use, regional economic development, community and energy, and demographics.

Through the rich variety of our programs and focal areas, we seek to strengthen the capacity, resiliency and sustainability of communities in New York State. CaRDI serves as a campus hub for community development research, training, and community engagement, as well as a space that promotes respectful, informed discussion of potentially contentious issues.

CaRDI’s mix of applied research, training, and outreach works to foster trust and informed decision-making at the local, regional, and state level. We work with students, faculty, Cornell Cooperative Extension educators, and a wide variety of state, regional and community partners to promote university-community respect, reciprocity and mutuality in support of Cornell University’s civic engagement and Land Grant mission.

Helping New York Communities

CaRDI builds capacity in New York communities through initiatives that help them:

  • Produce, access, synthesize and interpret research-based data and other information
  • Understand the characteristics of healthy, vibrant, sustainable communities
  • Articulate a vision and pursue goals for a sustainable future
  • Develop effective leaders
  • Mobilize people, resources and assets
  • Promote collaborative relationships within and among communities

Since 1990, the Community and Regional Development Institute has strengthened Cornell's role as a leader in responding to current and emerging needs in community, rural and regional development. Working with Cornell faculty and staff--including Cornell Cooperative Extension's network of county offices--and other state and regional institutions, CaRDI is a center of dialogue and collaboration addressing needs at the local, state, and national levels.

Our Mission

  • Offer research-based information in support of identifying solutions to community problems
  • Provide training, based on research and data, for elected and appointed officials and community leaders to foster informed decision making
  • Connect Cornell faculty and staff from various colleges to build collaborative partnerships and to envision community development alternatives in key areas.

CaRDI works

  • Within New York State
    CaRDI works with local, county and state governments, governmental agencies, state and regional associations, technical assistance providers, and CCE Associations.
  • Within Regions
    CaRDI helps build capacity through targeted initiatives that support innovative, resource-appropriate strategies for community and economic development.
  • On Campus
    CaRDI integrates faculty, staff and Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Educators to enhance research and education in support of community development.

Core Funding Support from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and the College of Human Ecology. CaRDI is administratively housed with the Department of Development Sociology.