Public Policy & Research

About the project

Policy and Research on Regional Issues

As the world changes, the issues that matter most—public safety, livable neighborhoods, good health, job access, education—remain the same. Access to reliable data is fundamental to enhancing the region’s understanding of the things that threaten those values we all hold true. Through its research, UBRI has always provided focused analysis of key policy issues to inform decision making and policy action in the region. And has always made its publications and resources available and understandable for use by government officials, researchers, community activists, and citizens.

UBRI Work & Solutions

Progress Through Understanding

UBRI doesn’t tell people what to think, instead we present non-biased data in a variety of ways to inform a conversation about how to think about a particular issue. The State of the Region and our Policy Brief Series were tools to start conversations. We analyzed and tracked data that people would find useful and relevant. Data drove the discussion and determined who needed to be in the room – often times the first such collaborations among certain groups—to develop regional understanding across the issue. We often worked with local experts and developed partnerships with UB faculty members who were engaged in relevant research. Because of this, conversations were targeted and focused and solutions were developed about how to move forward. This approach —asking critical questions, building understanding, informing decision, and guiding change – for which UBRI has come to be known—was first explored and perfected in many of the public policy projects we’ve tackled.

State of the Region

Policy Brief Series

You Can’t Manage What You Can’t Measure

State of the Region Performance Indicators for the Buffalo Niagara Region in the 21st Century

A founding project of UB Regional Institute, the State of the Region (SOTR) responded to the recognition that the larger binational community must begin to see itself and act as a region in order to build an enduring quality of life, compete in the global arena, and expand its possibilities for success. SOTR began with the premise that in order for this to happen, the region needed an objective, reliable base of information on its condition, regional performance, and where and how it could do better. SOTR’s 1999 baseline report monitors Buffalo Niagara’s performance in 11 key areas that reflect and shape regional life. Measuring regional performance across these 11 complex issue areas in a way that could facilitate collaborative action and reflect a wide range of perspectives required expertise from task forces made up of a total of more than 200 community members. Once eight to ten indicators that were outcomes based, valid and reliable, understandable, routinely measured, and conducive to goal setting and action were selected, the task force members worked with project staff to gather and examine quantifiable data. In support of the action-oriented mission of the task forces, members worked with UBRI to propose short-term and long-term goals for each performance indicator. The baseline report casts light on where the region has been and where it may be headed and proposes goals and action steps for future performance. Progress reports were released in 2000 and 2003, with the second focusing on the issue of equity in Buffalo Niagara. In 2005, SOTR transitioned to an online presentation of data and performance measures. SOTR helped lay a foundation for regional understanding, decision making and action.



2000 Outstanding Project, Public Education NY Upstate Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) For State of the Region: Performance Indicators for the Buffalo-Niagara Region in the 21st Century

2000 Outstanding Planning Project, Planning Implementation

NY Upstate Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) For State of the Region: Performance Indicators for the Buffalo-Niagara Region in the 21st Century


Tools to Start Conversations

Inaugurated as an ongoing series in August 2006, Regional Institute Policy Briefs provide objective data and succinct analysis in an illustrated format to frame issues, inform decisions and guide policy action. 

The series has informed discussion and debate around such issues as the exodus of young from the region, air quality, public transportation, the cross-border economy and rural demographic change.

Want to see more? View all of our work