The Kinder Institute Urban Data Platform (UDP) is created to support a deeper understanding of Houston’s people, government and built environment. The UDP is a computing environment and secure data repository of research-ready geocoded data for the Houston metropolitan area, facilitating cross-disciplinary research and community investigations. The UDP team supports training in statistical methods related to urban analytics.

UDP is a data repository containing various data sets, which researchers at Rice University and its affiliates use to further understand urban issues in the Houston area and beyond. The UDP enables a greater understanding of urban issues in the Houston area in two ways: 

  1. Being the single access point for many data sources that supports the programs at Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research (KIUR) in its data-intensive work and collaborations with key partners
  2. Providing researchers with the opportunity for greater collaboration to conduct interdisciplinary research examining the interconnections of subject areas, which drives understanding and potential solutions to local urban issues

UDP is a first-of-its-kind effort to compile, organize and analyze a wide variety of data across many disciplines, focusing on critical issues facing Houston and its metro area. The program builds on the 2015 data-sharing agreement between Rice and the city, as well as their participation in the newly-formed Metro Lab Network. The data housed within the platform will allow researchers and policymakers at Rice, in Houston and beyond to engage in cross-disciplinary research on a wide range of urban problems in Houston, combining data sets in new ways to find new insights.  

The main objective of the UDP is to create a collection of spatially-enabled research-ready datasets on urban planning.

We will: 

  • Support data-driven research for the growth, progress and welfare of Houston and its communities
  • House and provide access to an extensive data library in a secure computing environment
  • Provide a wide range of high-quality geocoded and research ready data sets for studying the greater Houston area
  • Provide training in data science, including secure data management and statistical learning methods
  • Facilitate cross-disciplinary and community-based research

Expected benefits

  • Ability to get a clearer picture of Houston - and create a clearer path to solving urban problems - by conducting cross-disciplinary research using structured (and possibly linked) data.
  • Allow researchers at Rice University and the Kinder Institute to conduct sophisticated and detailed urban research like never before.
  • At a later stage, the data would be made available to researchers at other institutions in Houston and around the country.
  • At a later stage, the data would inform a wide variety of government agencies and community groups interested in tackling Houston's urban problems.

Contact Info: kinder-udp@rice.edu