CaRDI Research & Policy Briefs

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The Research & Policy Brief is published every other month and highlights research and policy-relevant work on a variety of important community development topics. CaRDI publications are designed to provide our readers with research-based, policy-relevant 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.

The Research & Policy Briefs are written by university faculty, state agency representatives, and CCE Educators, among other partners and collaborators.

The Research & Policy Briefs are free for public reproduction with proper accreditation. For questions and comments about the briefs, or any other CaRDI publication, please contact Robin Blakely-Armitage at

Research Policy Briefs

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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
School lunch

The Economic Implications of Using NYS Farm Products in School Lunches

Apr 1, 2016
Research & Policy Brief / Issue 72 / April 2016
By Brad Rickard, Todd Schmit, and Pam Shapiro, Cornell University

A significant amount of food is sourced for school lunches in New York State (NYS), which is procured at a cost of more than $366 million for 281.6 million school lunches per year. Food service directors currently source food through collective bids and pooling purchases, where they are encouraged to purchase locally- produced foods, but they are not mandated or incentivized to do so. Recently, there has been interest in finding ways to increase the proportion of local food in school lunches, which is expected to increase revenues for local farmers and related businesses. Unfortunately, the directors of school lunch programs face very tight budgets, and many are not able to spend additional money to procure local foods.

One way to encourage food service directors to procure more local foods is to offer reimbursements to compensate for the added costs of purchasing local food ingredients. A group of Cornell University researchers has evaluated the benefits and costs of potential proposals that seek to incentivize local food purchases in NYS school districts. Findings from this research suggest that if NYS lawmakers provide an additional $0.05-per- lunch subsidy incentive to food service directors that use local fruits or vegetables one day per week (e.g., “Thursday is Eat NY Day”), it would likely have an overall positive economic effect for farmers and local economies in NYS. Read more

Creative Placemaking: Linking Arts, Culture, and Community Development

Feb 1, 2016
Research & Policy Brief / Issue 71 (download PDF)
By Paula Horrigan, Cornell University

It is a familiar scenario in the downtowns of many “rust belt” cities across the Northeast: Oneida Square in Utica, New York, lacks social activity and aesthetic appeal, there are few places to sit or safely walk, and it is known around town as an unwelcoming and unsafe place. This area of Utica has seen some recent infrastructure upgrades—a roundabout, new sidewalks, and lighting—but it still falls dramatically short in the neighborhood and city’s eyes. Utica and underserved neighborhoods like Oneida Square bear a visible legacy of disinvestment, urban decay, and public spaces that prioritize automobiles over people.

Yet Oneida Square is a home to one of Utica’s most diverse downtown neighborhoods in a city hoping to benefit from the trend of people returning to cities. Cities rich in arts and culture attract people because of their quality of life, character, and opportunities for participation and investment. A growing movement called creative placemaking puts arts and culture at the center of community development efforts. Utica’s Oneida Square has been the focus of recent creative placemaking activities that have had positive effects on the neighborhood. Read more


Past Research & Policy Briefs

Can START-UP NY jumpstart the Upstate economy?

Issue 60/June 2014
by Nidhi Subramanyam, Cornell University

Rust2Green (R2G): Restoring Prosperity by "Restorying" the Rustbelt

Issue 59/April 2014
by Paula Horrigan, Cornell University

Are We Unprepared for “Pipelines on Rails”? Oil Transport Risks & Policy Challenges

Issue 58/February 2014
by Susan Christopherson, Cornell University

Community Adaptation to Flooding in a Changing Climate: Municipal Officials' Actions, Decision-Making, and Barriers.

Issue 57/December 2013
By Gretchen Gary and Shorna Allred, Cornell University, and Elizabeth LoGiudice, Allison Chatrchyan, Rosemarie Baglia, Theresa Mayhew,Dianne Olsen, and Marilyn Wyman, Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Public Opinion on Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Issues

Issue 56/October 2013
by Sridhar Vedachalam, David L. Kay and Susan J. Riha, Cornell University

Green Spaces: A Path to Recovery and Resiliencey

Issue 55/August 2013
by Keith Tidball, Cornell University

A Vote of “No Confidence”: Why Local Governments Take Action in Response to Shale Gas Development

Issue 54/June 2013
by Susan Christopherson, Clay Frickley & Ned Rightor

Can Immigration Save Small-Town America?

Issue 53/April 2013
by Patrick J. Carr (Rutgters University - New Brunswick), Daniel T. Lichter (Cornell University) and Maria J. Kefalas (Saint Joseph's University)

The Impact of Trade Liberalization with Canada on New York State Wineries

Issue 52/February 2013
by Joseph Perla and Bradley J. Rickard, Cornell University.

The Graying of the Empire State: Parts of New York Grow Older Faster

Issue 51/December 2012
E.J. McMahon and Robert Scardamalia, Empire Center for NYS Policy

Upstate Rural New York Residents’ Perceptions of Climate Change

Issue 50/October 2012
By Richard C. Stedman (Cornell University), Robert M. Ross (Paleontological Research Institution), Shorna B. Allred (Cornell University), and Sarah J. Chicone (Johns Hopkins University)

New York's Regional Economic Development Councils

Issue 49/August 2012
by Bobby Hall, Heidi Mouillesseaux-Kunzman, David Kay and Rod Howe, Cornell University.

Energy Federalism: Who Decides?

Issue 48/June 2012
by David Kay, Cornell University

The Economic Impact of Farm Brewery Legislation in NYS

Issue 47/April 2012
by Becca Jablonski and Greg Kelly, Cornell University

"The Heat is On: From Subways to Dairy Barns, Is New York Ready for Climate Change?"

Issue 46/January 2012
by Amanda Garris, Cornell University, Reprinted with permission from the Fall 2011 issue of CALS News Magazine

Agricultural Markets Outlook

Issue 45/December 2011
Todd Schmit*, Mark Stephenson**, Brad Rickard*, & Miguel Gómez* (Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management (AEM), Cornell University, **Center for Dairy Profitability, University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Riding the New Wave in Manufacturing to More Jobs and a Better Economy

Issue 44/November 2011
By Susan Christopherson, Cornell University

The Implications of Multi-Well Pads in the Marcellus Shale

Issue 43/September 2011
By Jim Ladlee, Penn State Cooperative Extension & Jeffrey Jacquet, Cornell University

Do Upstate New Yorkers Support the Property Tax Cap? It Depends.

Issue 42/July 2011
By Robin M. Blakely-Armitage and David L. Kay, Cornell University

Perceptions of the Great Northern Forest and Its Management

Issue 41/May 2011
by Jody Enck and Tommy Brown, Cornell University

Leadership Development: Theory and Practice in LEAD New York

Issue 40/March 2011
By Larry Van De Valk, Cornell University

Natural Gas Development: Views of New York and Pennsylvania Residents in the Marcellus Shale Region

Issue 39/January 2011
by Richard Stedman, Cornell University, Fern Willits, Kathryn Brasier, Matthew Filteau, and Diane McLaughlin, The Pennsylvania State University, and Jeffrey Jacquet, Cornell University.

Moving Local Foods from Farm to Consumers: Lessons from NYS Apples

Issue 38/November 2010
by Miguel Gomez, Cornell University.

What is Cumulative Impact Assessment and Why Does it Matter?

Issue 37/September 2010
by David Kay, Charles Geisler, Richard C. Stedman, Cornell University

CaRDI's Support for Community Economic Development

Issue 36/July 2010
by Heidi Mouillesseaux-Kunzman and Rod Howe, Cornell University

Poverty and Food Insecurity in the United States

Issue 35/May 2010
by Thomas A. Hirschl and Katherine L. Dickin, Cornell University. Also see this List of Additional Resources

Industrial Wind Power: What Local Officials Need To Know

Issue 34/March 2010
by Kate McCarthy and Eric VanderMaas, Cornell University. Also see this List of Additional Resources

Estimating the Job Impact of Public Investment in Bio-fuel Plants

Issue 33/January 2010
by Susan Christopherson and Zachary Sivertsen, Cornell University

How Schools Can Help Communities in NYS

Issue 32/November 2009
by John W. Sipple, Hope Casto, and Robin M. Blakely, Cornell University

Living with Wildlife on the Rural-Urban Interface

Issue 31/September 2009
by Dan Decker, Heather, Wieczorek Hudenko, Bill Siemer and Paul Curtis, Cornell University; John Major and Lou Berchielli, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

Emerging Trends in the Marcellus Shale

Issue 30/July 2009
by Jeffrey Jacquet and Richard Stedman, Cornell University

Jobs, Good-Paying Jobs, and Services

Issue 29/May 2009
by David L. Kay and James E. Pratt, Cornell University

Aging in New York State: Opportunities and Challenges

Issue 28/April 2009
by Nina Glasgow and Robin M. Blakely, Cornell University

Do Comprehensive Plans Matter?

Issue 27/March 2009
by David Kay, Cornell University

Exploring Regional Food Systems: A North Country Example

Issue 26/February 2009
by Heidi Mouillesseaux-Kunzman (Cornell University) and Katherine Lang (Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County)

Public Opinion on Indian Casinos and Rural Economic Development in NYS

Issue 25/January 2009
By Angela A. Gonzales, Daniel B. Ahlquist, and Thomas A. Lyson (Cornell University)

Using the American Community Survey (ACS) for Rural or Small Area Research & Policy

Issue 24/December 2008
by Richard Rathge, Karen Olson, and Ramona Danielson, North Dakota State University

Community Response to Immigrants in New Destinations

Issue 23/November 2008
by Max J. Pfeffer and Pilar A. Parra, Cornell University. Also see: "Community Response to Immigrants in New Destinations" by Max J. Pfeffer and Pilar A. Parra (Cornell University Paper prepared for the conference on Immigration Reform: Implications for Farmers, Farm Workers, and Communities; Washington, D.C.; May 9, 2008)

Community Attitudes Toward Scientific Research

Issue 22/October 2008
by Katherine A. McComas (Cornell University), John C. Besley (University of South Carolina), and Zheng “Janet” Yang (Cornell University). Also see a full list of References and Table 1. Means and standard deviations to key questions.

The Economic Importance of the Child Care Sector

Issue 21/September 2008
by Mildred E. Warner, Cornell University

Sense of Place: A framework for land use planning

Issue 20/August 2008
by Richard C. Stedman and David L. Kay, Cornell University

Information Access and Preferences Among Private Forest Landowners in New York State

Issue 19/July 2008
by Shorna Broussard, Nancy Connelly, Tommy Brown, and Peter Smallidge, Cornell University

Retirement Migration in the Countryside

Issue 18/June 2008
by Nina Glasgow and David L. Brown, Cornell University

Food Insecurity in Rural New York State

Issue 17/May 2008
by Christine Olson and Megan Lent, Cornell University.

Addressing a Moving Target: Poverty and Student Transiency in Rural Upstate New York

Isse 16/April 2008
by Kai Schafft, Penn State University, and Kieran M. Killeen, University of Vermont

Management Activities of Private Forest Landowners in New York State

Issue 15/March 2008
by Shorna Broussard, Nancy Connelly, Tommy Brown, and Peter Smallidge, Cornell University

The Role of Cornell University in Training Local Government Leaders

Issue 14/February 2008
by Rod Howe, Cornell University

The Capacity of Early Childhood Care & Education in Rural NYS

Issue 13/January 2008
by John W. Sipple, Lisa A. McCabe, and Judith Ross-Bernstein, Cornell University. Also see the full reference paper: Assessing Capacity: Early Childhood Education in Rural New York State

Poverty in New York State: Patterns and Prospects

Issue 12/December 2007
by Thomas Hirschl, Cornell University. Also see NYS County Poverty Statistics and References

Attracting and Retaining a Young Skilled Workforce in Upstate New York

Issue 11/November 2007
by Susan Christopherson, Cornell University

Racial Segregation in Rural & Small Town America: Does New York State fit the national pattern?

Issue 10/October 2007
by Daniel T. Lichter, Cornell University, and Domenico Parisi, Steven Michael Grice, & Michael Taquino, Mississippi State University

The Creative Economy Practitioner’s Toolkit: Taking Advantage of Campus and Community Resources,

Issue 9/September 2007
by Susan Christopherson & Suzanne Loker, Cornell University, and Susan Monagan, Ithaca College

Heats and Animosities: What Rural New Yorkers Think about Local Taxes and Services

Issue 8/August 2007
by David L. Kay, Cornell University

School-Based Health Centers in NYS,

Issue 7/July 2007
by John W. Sipple and Hope Casto, Cornell University

Losing and Gaining Metropolitan Status: So What?

Issue 6/June 2007
by David L. Brown and K. Whitney Mauer, Cornell University

Farm-to-School Initiatives Gaining Ground in New York State

Issue 5/May 2007
by Jennifer Wilkins, Duncan Hilchey, and Heidi Mouillesseaux-Kunzman, Cornell University

Converging Worlds: The State of Farm-Neighbor Relations in NYS

Issue 4/April 2007
by David Kay and Suzanne Motheral, Cornell University

New Yorkers’ Perceptions of Immigrants and Immigration

Issue 3/March 2007
by Max J. Pfeffer & Pilar A. Parra

Childhood Obesity: Do New Yorkers Support Policies to Reduce it?

Issue 2/February 2007
by John Cawley and Rachel Dunifon, Department of Policy Analysis and Management, Cornell University

Terrorism & Residential Location Preferences in New York State

Issue 1/January 2007
by David Kay, Chuck Geisler, & Nelson Bills, Cornell University

Rural New York Initiative Research & Policy Briefs

Prior to CaRDI Series (April 2004- March 2006)

New York State Public Opinion about Immigration Policy Reform

Rural New York Initiative Research & Policy Brief Series, March 2006
by Max J. Pfeffer and Pilar A. Parra

Social Integration among Older Nonmetropolitan In-migrants

Rural New York Initiative Research & Policy Brief Series, February 2006
by Nina L. Glasgow and David L. Brown

Micropolitan Areas & the Measurement of Urbanization

Rural New York Initiative Research & Policy Brief Series, February 2005
by David L. Brown (Cornell University), John B. Cromartie (Economic Research Service) & Laszlo J. Kulcsar (Cornell University)

Farmworkers with Families Part 2 of 4: Immigrants and the Community

Rural New York Initiative Research & Policy Brief Series, May 2005
By Pilar A. Parra and Max J. Pfeffer, Cornell University

What is the best way to Transfer Technical Environmental Information to a Non-Technical Audience? Environmental Sustainability and an Informed Citizenry

Rural New York Initiative Research & Policy Brief Series, December 2004
By Linda P. Wagenet, Cornell University

The New Immigrants: Hispanics Settling in Rural Communities

Rural New York Initiative Research & Policy Brief Series, December 2004
By Max J. Pfeffer and Pilar A. Parra, Cornell University

What Does a School Mean to a Community? Assessing the Social & Economic Benefits of Schools To Rural Villages in New York

Rural New York Initiative Research & Policy Brief Series, December 2004
By Thomas A. Lyson, Cornell University

A County Executive: To Be or Not To Be in Tompkins County, An Empirical Examination of Key Issues

Rural New York Initiative Research & Policy Brief Series, December 2004
By Paul R. Eberts & Peter C. Stein, Cornell University

Integrating the Needs of Immigrant Workers and Rural Communities Part 1 of 4: Immigrants and the Community

Rural New York Initiative Research & Policy Brief Series, November 2004
By Max J. Pfeffer and Pilar A. Parra, Cornell University

Organic Agriculture at a Crossroads

Rural New York Initiative Research & Policy Brief Series, May 2004
By Robin Kreider, Cornell University

Residential Mobility of Low Income Households and the Effects on Schools and Communities

Rural New York Initiative Research & Policy Brief Series, April 2004
by Kai A. Schafft, Cornell University

Requiem for Small Family Dairy Farms?

Rural New York Initiative Research & Policy Brief Series, April 2004
By Thomas A. Lyson, Cornell University