Senior Extension Associate, Department of Global Development
David Kay is a Senior Extension Associate in the Department of Global Development. He currently serves as Department Extension Leader. Initially trained as an economist, David provides leadership for specific programming in the areas of energy, land use, community development and regional economics. His work involves research, outreach, and training efforts that attempt to build community-based decision making capacity and to help weave local policy into a regionally coherent fabric. He has increasingly focused on the community and economic development implications of energy transitions and of climate change, and on the relationships between the “local” and the “global”. His research and outreach efforts are particularly concerned with building informed decision making capacity in the context of community controversy.
David has complemented his work with years of service on the boards of city, town, county and New York State not-for-profit and government organizations concerned with sustainability, conflict resolution, and municipal land use planning. He currently serves on the Sustainability and Climate Justice Commission for the City of Ithaca and on the steering committee of the National Extension Climate Initiative (NECI) for Cooperative Extension.
David’s collaborative, multi-disciplinary research focuses on issues pertaining to local and regional development inclusive especially of land use planning, climate change and energy transitions, regional economics, and governance. His land use research has covered residential housing preferences, implementation of NYS’s “Smart Growth Policies”, waste facility siting, and local government efforts at comprehensive land use planning. On energy transitions and climate change, David worked on the socio-economic impacts of oil and gas extraction, and now attends primarily to issues for local governments and communities hosting large-scale solar electric facilities or facing increased flood risk. His work has quantified the community economic significance of child care and of the not-for-profit sector. Regardless of topic, his research seeks to shine light on community/economic development opportunities and the challenges of informed decision-making for policy makers and community residents.
Outreach and Extension Focus
David’s outreach work spans partnership building, facilitating policy dialogues, capacity building, and research. Often this involves cultivating conversations among researchers and local and state policy makers, identifying training and informational needs, and designing or implementing issue-responsive research and programming to assist and support informed local and regional decision-making. This formula is applied across issue areas: from land use and energy to community and regional economic development. More formally, David is currently serving as Chair of the National Extension Climate Initiative, as Chair of the City of Ithaca’s Sustainability and Climate Justice Commission, and as the only academic member of the NYS Energy Research and Development Authority’s Agricultural Technical Working Group considering the relationships between agriculture and utility scale solar development.
Williams, L, and D. Kay. (Under Review) Might I Have to Move Due to Climate Change? The Role of Partisanship and Exposure to Risk in Anticipation of Future Relocation Population and Environment.
Victoria Solomon, Jessica Beckendorf, and David Kay. (Forthcoming 2023). Civil Leadership for Vibrant Communities: Building Bridges through Deliberative Dialogue, Journal of Extension.
John Aloysius Zinda, Ziyu Zhao, James Zhang, Sarah Alexander, David Kay, Lindy Williams, Lyndsey Cooper & Libby Zemaitis. 2023. How Homeownership, Race, and Social Connections Influence Flood Preparedness Measures: Evidence from 2 Small U.S. Cities, Environmental Sociology, 10.1080/23251042.2023.2173487
John Aloysius Zinda, James Zhang, Lindy B. Williams, David L. Kay, Sarah M. Alexander, Libby Zemaitis. 2022. Different Responses: Assessments of Flooding and COVID-19 Risks among Upstate New York Residents, Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World. 8: 1–20.
Jack Zinda, Lindy Williams, David Kay, Sarah Alexander. 2021. Flood Risk Perception and Responses among Urban Residents in the Northeastern United States, International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. 64:1-11, 102528.
Byungdoo Kim, David Kay, Jonathan Schuldt. 2021. Will I have to move because of climate change? Perceived likelihood of climate-related migration among the U.S. public. Climatic Change, 165(9).
Jeffrey A. Sward, Roberta S. Nilson, Venktesh V. Katkar, Richard C. Stedman, David L. Kay, Jennifer E. Ifft, K. Max Zhang. 2021. Integrating social considerations in multicriteria decision analysis for utility-scale solar photovoltaic siting. Applied Energy 288 116543.
- Roslynn Brain McCann, Mark Apel, Clark Dove, Ramona Madhosingh-Hector, Jennison Kipp Searcy and David Kay. 2020. Cooperative Extension and Sustainability Outreach: Programmatic Successes, Administrative Support, and Areas for Improvement. Journal of Extension. 58(1).
- Haggerty, Julia Kristin K Smith, Jason Weigle, Timothy W. Kelsey, Kathryn B. Walsh, Roger Coupal, David L. Kay, Paul Lachapelle. 2019. Tradeoffs, balancing and adaptation in the agriculture-oil and gas nexus: insights from farmers and ranchers in the United States. Energy Research & Social Science 47, 84-92.
- Suzanne Barclay and David Kay. The Economic Impact of Non-Profits: A Case Study. CaRDI Research & Policy Brief Issue 86. September 2019.
- Jeffrey Jacquet, James Ladlee, Brian Rahm, Dylan Bugden, Joshua Fergen, Anne Junod, Paige Hagley, Grace Wildermuth, Joshua Fershee, Kathryn Brasier, Kai Schafft, Richard Stedman, Leland L. Glenna, Timothy W. Kelsey, David Kay, Kirk Jalbert. 2018. A decade of Marcellus Shale: impacts to people, policy, and culture from 2008 to 2018 in the Greater Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The Extractive Industries and Society. 5(4):596-609.
- Erin Fenton, Robin Blakely-Armitage, David L. Kay. Perceptions of Risk and Behavior: Climate Change & Weather-Related Relocation, Research & Policy Brief Issue 82, November 2018.
- Jennifer Ifft, Travis Grout, David Kay, Dylan Bugden, Frieda Kay, David Lane, Chris Rondem, Richard Stedman, Jeff Sward, and Max Zhang. Large-Scale Solar Information and Research Needs for New York State, CaRDI Report, Issue 18, May 2018.
- Jenny Ifft, Travis Grout, David Kay, Dylan Bugden, Frieda Kay, David Lane, Chris Rondem, Richard Stedman, Jeff Sward, and Max Zhang. Achieving Large-Scale Solar in New York State: What are the Research & Information Needs? Research & Policy Brief Series, Issue 80, April 2018.
- David L. Kay and Robin M. Blakely-Armitage, Should Popular or ‘Expert’ Opinion Guide Local Government Decisions? Research & Policy Brief Series Issue Number 79 / February 2018.
- Schmit, T. M., Jablonski, B. B., Minner, J., Kay, D. L., & Christensen, L. (2017). Rural wealth creation of intellectual capital from urban local food system initiatives: Developing indicators to assess change. Community Development (CDS). 48:639-656.
- Jablonski, B. B., Schmit, T. M., & Kay, D. L. (2016). Assessing the Economic Impacts of Food Hubs on Regional Economies: A Framework that Includes Opportunity Cost. Agricultural and Resource Economics Review. 45:143-172.
Presentations and Activities
Victoria Solomon, Jessica Beckendorf, David Kay, Randy Lioz, David Lapp. Addressing the Great Divide: A Partnership for Community Impact. Plenary, Public Issue Leadership Development annual conference, Joint Council of Extension Professionals, April 18, 2023.
David Kay (facilitation), Women and Young Peacebuilders on Technology and Peacebuilding: Global Perspectives, Church Center for the United Nations, NY NY, Mediators Beyond Borders International and Young Diplomats of Canada, March 6, 2023.
David Kay, Talking With People Who Aren't On Board: Skills of Braver Angels, 2023 Citizen’s Climate Lobby Northeast Regional Conference, Schenectady NY, March 4, 2023
Victoria Solomon and David Kay, Cultivating Common Ground for Effective Community Development, Community Development Society, annual meeting, July 19, 2022.
Rachel Welborn, Cintia Aguilar, Michelle Eley, Crystal Tyler-Mackey, Brian Raison, Linda Seals, Dawn Burton, Eric Walcott, David Kay, Kittrane Sanders & Abby Harper. Racial Understanding: Let’s Start Talking, Post Conference Workshop, National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals, Indianapolis Indiana, June 8, 2022.
Victoria Solomon, David Kay, Jessica Beckendorf. Civil Leadership for Vibrant Communities: A Partnership for Seeking Common Ground, Community Resilience & Sustainability, National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals, Indianapolis Indiana, June 6, 2022.
David Kay, Surine Greenway, and Linda Seals. Epsilon Sigma Phi and the National Coming Together for Racial Understanding Program. Presentation to the Urban and Culturally Diverse Audiences Affinity Group of ESP, May 10, 2022.
David Kay. Leasing your Land for Solar Energy Development: Questions and Answers, facilitator, Session 4 of Cornell Extension, Penn State Extension, NY and PA Farm Bureau series on Navigating the Leasing Process of Utility-Scale and Community Solar in New York and Pennsylvania, March 23, 2022.
David Kay. Broadband and the Digital Divide, National Regional Rural Development Center Listening Session, facilitator, March 23, 2022.
David Kay, Hurry up please, it’s time: My Takeaways from COP26, North Central Climate Collaborative webinar series, February 28, 2022.
Coming Together Training Team, Coming Together for Racial Understanding, National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Staff Training, January 27, 2022 & February 3, 2022.
- David Kay, Planning for Large Scale Solar Electricity Facilities in NYS, 32nd Annual Planning Symposium, Onondaga County Planning Federation, Syracuse NY, March 12, 2020.
- John Motloch, Richard Reibstein, Bob Perry and David Kay, Educational Institutions working on Community Energy Programs, Municipal Sustainability and Energy Forum, webinar, March 9, 2020.
- David Kay, New York’s Solar Electricity Goals and Agriculture, Solar Energy and the Future of Farming in the Mohawk Valley, Robert McLaughlin College Center, March 7, 2020.
- David Kay and Riley Hart. Depolarizing Within, LEAD NY Class 18, Albany NY Farm Bureau, February 4, 2020.
- Pilar McKay and David Kay. Focus Groups. CCE Professional Development Leadership Cohort webinar, January 28, 2020.
- David Kay. New York’s Solar Electricity Goals and Agriculture, American Farmland Trust, Combatting Climate Change: Solar Energy, Farming and the Future in NY, Hotel Indigo Riverhead Long Island, November 13, 2019.
- David Kay. Climate of Change: How NYC is preparing for its environmental challenges, United World College NYC Chapter panel presentation. New York University, September 14, 2019.
- David Kay. Engaging with conflict constructively: the nexus between peaceful and inclusive societies (SDG 16) and climate change (SDG13), collaboration with a Mediators Beyond Borders International workshop in conjunction with the UN High Level Political Forum, Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice, NYC, July 12, 2019.
- David Kay and Heidi Mouillesseaux-Kunzman. Informed Decision Making in the Southern Tier Central Region. Southern Tier Central Regional Planning & Development Board, monthly training, May 14, 2019.
- Katherine Herleman & David Kay. Research on Issues Facing Academic Efforts to Better Inform Local Policy Making: The Case of Renewable Energy, National Sustainability Summit & National Extension Energy Summit, Tampa Fl, April 18, 2019.
- Sarah Alexander and David Kay. Flood Risk & Resilience - Moving the Needles on Research and Outreach, National Sustainability Summit & National Extension Energy Summit, Tampa Fl, April 18, 2019
- David Kay. Smart Approaches to Smart Growth - Regional Localism for Water and Sewer Infrastructure, National Sustainability Summit & National Extension Energy Summit, Tampa Fl, April 18, 2019
- David Kay & Robin Blakely-Armitage. Large Scale Solar Development in NYS, CCE System Conference 2019: Seeds of Change, April 10, 2019.
- Robin Blakely-Armitage and David Kay. Resources & Connections: Flooding, Risk Perception and Community Resiliency, CCE System Conference 2019: Seeds of Change, April 10, 2019.
- Dee Knapp, Mina Vaish, David Kay. Women, Mediation, and Effective Implementation of the UN Agenda on Women, Peace and Security. Mediators Beyond Borders capacity building training at the Commission on the Status of Women annual conference (CSW63), New York NY, March 16, 2019.
- Michael Hoffman, David Kay, Francis Vanek, and Guillermo Metz. The Green New Deal: Pathway to Ecological Sustainability? Tompkins County Environmental Management Council panel, March 12, 2019.
Recent Media Highlights
- Jacob Sanders, Wallet Hub, Safest States to Live In, Expert Opinion.
- Emilia Picco, State of Solar Adoption 2021 Series: Interview with David Kay.
- Susan Arterian, The Backyard Battle for New York’s Climate Future, Hudson River Valley Newsroom, Sep 28, 2021.
- Joe Benjamin, briefing on solar energy and the new ORES regulations, The Lockport Union-Sun & Journal, March 8, 2021
- Mike DeSocio, policy briefing on climate induced migration, The Guardian, January 21, 2021
- Master of Science, Cornell University, 1993
- Bachelor of Arts, University of California Berkeley, 1977
- Additional undergraduate study, Heidelberg University (Germany)
- Advanced Level Examinations (6th Form), United World College of the Atlantic (UK), 1972
Community & Economic Development
Community, Energy Transitions & Climate Change
Governance & Conflict Resolution
Warren Hall 275E
Ithaca, NY 14853
dlk2 [at] cornell.edu
David in the news
Lindy Williams , professor of global development and a member of the Migrations Lab, profiled two cities in the province of Luzon as they face the risks and consequences of frequent flooding. Despite these problems, “climate-driven migration is...
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