CaRDI Publications

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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 Robin Blakely-Armitage at rmb18@cornell.edu.

CaRDI Publications

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Data Profiles to Better Understand Your Community

Apr 17, 2017
Issue 77/April 2017
by Jan Vink and Robin Blakely-Armitage, Cornell University
Data can help us better understand the past, current and future trends facing our communities. This information is vital for community leaders interested in responding to challenges, building capacity, and maximizing opportunities. Sharing community-level data can help foster discussions about these trends, shape a community’s goals and priorities, and determine how to best measure progress. Creating a community profile to initiate such discussions is a good first step, but with the wealth of data now available on-line, the task can be overwhelming and even intimidating. Fortunately, new data tools, interfaces, and programs exist that simplify the process for many new users. Read more

Local Government Capacity to Respond to Environmental Change: Insights from Towns in New York State

Apr 14, 2017
By Lincoln R. Larson ● T. Bruce Lauber ● David L. Kay ● Bethany B. Cutts, Environmental Management, 12 April 2017
Local governments attempting to respond to environmental change face an array of challenges. To better understand policy responses and factors influencing local government capacity to respond to environmental change, we studied three environmental issues affecting rural or peri-urban towns in different regions of New York State: climate change in the Adirondacks (n = 63 towns), loss of open space due to residential/commercial development in the Hudson Valley (n = 50), and natural gas development in the Southern Tier (n = 62).  Read more

Fractured Promises or Flourishing Dreams? Leaseholder Perceptions of “Fracking” in Northern Pennsylvania

Apr 13, 2017
ISSUE NUMBER 77 / MARCH 2017
By David Kay, Dylan Bugden, and Rich Stedman, Cornell UniversityWhat is the Issue?
Recently, new oil and gas reserves in the U.S. Northeast’s Marcellus shale region were unlocked through “high volume hydraulic fracturing” (“fracking”) of subsurface rock. As technology evolved and prices increased, these resources became economically accessible, drawing industry to the region. Chesapeake Energy Corporation, one of the leading natural gas companies, initiated what they referred to as a “land grab” in a race to lock up access to the valuable resource. Other companies followed suit.
In the Northeast, mineral rights are typically owned by private Read more

Planning for the 202 Census: Counting New Yorkers Where they Live

Mar 31, 2017
Issue Number 76/February 2017
by Jan Vink and Robin Blakely-Armitage, Cornell University

Since 1790, the United States has conducted a census of the population every ten years, as required by the U.S. Constitution. The upcoming 2020 census will be the nation’s 24th. The goal of the Decennial Census is to count everyone once, only once, and in the right place. This means that the Census is not just about counting people, it’s about counting people where they live. Read more

Post-Recession Financial Strategies for Households: How to Deal with Debt

Dec 15, 2016
For two decades prior to the Great Recession, U.S. households steadily amassed significant amounts of debt and eroded their liquid asset holdings. By 2007, households were increasing debt at a rate equivalent to 6% of aggregate consumption every year. The Great Recession, which hit the U.S. and global economy in 2007, had an enormous impact on U.S. household finances. The financial crisis caused large drops in income with American median household income  declining by over 4%. Read more

Defining the Rural Wealth Impacts of Regional Food Systems

Sep 27, 2016
Policymakers increasingly view local and regional food systems as a priority for supporting rural development in America. Between 2009 and 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) invested more than $1 billion in over 40,000 local food systems projects.1 However, our ability to assess the impacts of these investments is still limited. Most existing measurement efforts focus on short-term economic impacts, but growth-focused indicators shed little light on changes to wider notions of wealth and wellbeing in rural communities. If researchers can develop more comprehensive ways to measure the broader impacts of local and regional food systems, policymakers and extension educators can more effectively design and target rural community development support. Read more

Living with Water: Integrating Community Sustainability and Resilience

Aug 2, 2016
What is the Issue?
Over half of the world’s human population now lives in urban areas, and an estimated 30% to 40% of greenhouse gases produced worldwide are attributed to cities. While cities are major drivers of environmental and social change in global systems, their geography and density also make them vulnerable to stressors ranging from climate change and pollution to chronic poverty and crime. The problem is particularly acute in thousands of smaller U.S. cities that lack the technical and fiscal capacity to strengthen their aging social and infrastructure systems. Understanding the resilience of cities can help inform and guide local governments onto a more sustainable trajectory of development. Read more
Community Wellbeing

Community Wellbeing Indicators, Beyond GDP

Jun 1, 2016
By Yunji Kim [1], Cornell University

Improving human wellbeing is a goal of most communities and nations around the world. But how do we measure it? Since the Great Recession, gross domestic product (GDP) and other growth-centric frameworks have been critiqued as not adequately capturing social welfare or progress. For example, while the GDP in the U.S. has recovered and continues to grow in recent years, unemployment and poverty remain above pre-Recession levels.

What we measure and how we measure it matters, because our goals are often specified and evaluated by these indicators. Scholars and policymakers have suggested alternative measures of progress, such as community wellbeing.
  Read more

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