Each year since 2004, the Long Island Index staff and a team of technical advisors have gathered and analyzed several dozen data sets in 11 major categories to evaluate progress toward a more livable and thriving region. The Index report itself is published every January, and during the year the project conducts ongoing public opinion surveys, distributes op-eds, and prepares other studies.
The director of the CUNY Mapping Service at CUR has been a member of the Technical Committee from the project's inception, providing maps, spatial analysis, and advice regarding key data sets. This year, for the 2008 Index report, the Mapping Service worked with the committee to focus on a special analysis regarding Long Island's housing needs and downtown development opportunities (a PDF version of the 2008 Special Analysis is available at the link above). Our work is summarized below.
The Long Island Index relies on its Technical Committee to crunch the numbers that provide the backbone of our reports and special analyses, noted Nancy Rauch Douzinas, President of the Rauch Foundation. CUNY’s Center for Urban Research has been a great partner in this effort, and their maps and analysis really help us explain Long Island’s successes and challenges in a compelling way.
The Center's tasks for the 2008 report fell into three categories – analyzing data sets with our geographic information system (GIS), creating maps for publication in the report, and planning for interactive mapping capacity on the Long Island Index website. This work included:
a review of the 2000 decennial Census as well as the more recent American Community Survey (from 2005 and 2006), especially regarding age of housing stock and status of multi-family housing;
comparing multi-family housing density to other characteristics such as public transit, daytime population (a combination of each community’s non-working residents plus the daily influx of workers), and overall population density -- the map below is an example;
evaluating Census statistics available from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regarding single-family vs. multi-family building permits by village and town/city on a monthly and annual basis from 1980 through 2006; and
analyzing ZIP Code-level data from the NYS Department of Labor’s “Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages” from 2000 through 2005 for industry categories such as Retail Trade, Arts/Entertainment/Recreation, and Accommodation/Food Services, to help determine local trends in jobs, companies/stores, and wages. This helped inform a survey by the Regional Plan Association of downtown vibrancy as measured by several characteristics such as demographic and business mix.
We also updated a map from last year's report showing the steep increases in home prices on Long Island from 2000 through mid-2007. This involved an analysis of ZIP Code data on home sales provided by the Long Island Profiles company (via the Regional Plan Association).
The 2008 Index report featuring the results of this analysis is available at the Long Island Index project website. Other maps that CUR has prepared are displayed at http://www.longislandindex.org/long_island_maps.html.
Details about the methodology used for these analyses plus other data sets included in the 2008 report are available here [PDF].
Our work is funded through a grant from the Rauch Foundation. The Foundation acts as the convener of the Index's Advisory Committee and the financial underwriter of the project. (The Advisory Committee is composed of leaders from Long Island’s business, labor, academic and nonprofit sectors.) Initially funded for a three year period, the Foundation has since decided to continue to underwrite the project.
The Long Island Index is successfully encouraging people to think about and understand Long Island as a region of vital communities working together to create a vibrant economy with high paying jobs, good education and affordable housing for all. The Center for Urban Research looks forward to continuing our work with the Foundation on this important project.