Research 

 

Houston in Flux: Understanding a Decade of Bayou City Development
Kelsey Walker, Kinder Institute Post-Baccalaureate Fellow
Kyle Shelton, Kinder Institute Postdoctoral Fellow

This report quantifies, visualizes and analyzes new construction and demolition in Harris County between 2005 and 2015. By showing both demolition and construction, this report spotlights the effects of economic booms and busts, illuminates the locations where development pressures are either most extreme or nonexistent, and draws attention to communities rebuilding themselves within a decade. While these changes are often discussed anecdotally in Houston, and quantifying construction and demolition offers a concrete and nuanced look at how these processes affect different parts of the region. Redevelopment, preservation, outward growth and gentrification can all be spotted in the maps included in the report and in the accompanying interactive online map (http://houstoninflux.com).


Filling Potholes: Analyzing the City of Houston's Response
Kelsey Walker, Kinder Institute Post-Baccalaureate Fellow
Kyle Shelton, Kinder Institute Postdoctoral Fellow

At the request of the City of Houston, the Kinder Institute acted as an independent reviewer of the City’s new pothole repair initiative and its attached Potholes Tracker website. Under new Mayor Sylvester Turner, the City has prioritized responding to citizen-reported potholes by the end of the next business day. Since the initiative began on January 4, the City has reported a filled pothole rate of between 93-96 percent on citizen-reported potholes. Kinder Institute researchers were able to confirm these numbers and the method used to create it. However, Institute researchers also suggested a few minor changes to the reporting of the method and data behind the numbers in order to clarify the process for citizens. The details of those recommendations are found in the attached report. A detailed description of the Institute’s method for confirmation and the raw data provided to the Kinder Institute by the City are also available.


Shifting Gears: Framing Bike-Sharing Trends in Sunbelt Cities
Kelsey Walker, Kinder Institute Post-Baccalaureate Fellow
Kyle Shelton, Kinder Institute Postdoctoral Fellow

 

While bike-sharing is typically framed as a means of transportation for weekday commuters, a new analysis of the programs in Austin, Denver, FortWorth, and Houston indicates that users frequently turn to bike-sharing for recreational purposes in these cities. This nding is critical to our understanding of bike-share programs, which are poised to proliferate and expand in the Sun Belt and elsewhere in the coming years.


Rice Village: Parking, Management and the Built Environment
Kyle Shelton, Kinder Institute Postdoctoral Fellow

 

The Kinder Institute’s Vital Communities initiative — part of the Urban Development, Transportation and Placemaking Program — is designed to help bring meaningful place-making, governance and infrastructural improvements to metropolitan neighborhoods. A pilot effort focused on Rice Village inaugurates the initiative. The following report offers an analysis of three major issues facing Rice Village — parking, management and infrastructure.


Redeveloping the East End: Catalyst for Sustainable Transitions 
Kyle Shelton, Kinder Institute Program Manager and Fellow

The Kinder Institute recently participated in a Technical Assistance Panel put together by the Urban Land Institute’s Houston branch focused on the East End area of Houston. Institute Director Bill Fulton sat on the panel of experts and Institute Program Manager and Fellow Kyle Shelton wrote the final report based on the panel’s suggestions. The panel was tasked with thinking about how the East End could encourage more cohesive development along transit corridors and the bayou, as well as how to provide housing for a variety of income levels in the community. ULI-Houston launched the report with a luncheon on February 25. For the full recommendations see the report below.


Development and Transportation Framing Reports 

(In progress)

Through a series of GIS Maps and demographic analyses, these reports will outline many of the major trends at play in Houston-area development and transportation. These reports will serve as the base-maps for launching further, more in-depth work on development trends in the metro area. 

Much of this information is available via the Census and HGAC, but is rarely presented as a cohesive whole. A single report that outlines these major trends could be very useful. This work will also complement Kinder Institute work on urban disparity and opportunity in the region.

 

National Urban Highway Study

(In progress)

Houston, along with several other cities in the United States and across the world, is currently discussing what to do with sections of its downtown highway system. TxDOT recently solicited feedback on a final plan that calls for the tearing down of the Pierce Elevated and for the capping of I-45 in several other places. This possibility has led to an uptick in discussions over what to do with the outdated highway section downtown. 

As the city considers its options, this report will help situate the choices and debates over highways in other cities. The report will use three main sets of examples to inform the Houston decision. 1) Cities that have already torn down or altered their downtown highways. 2) Cities that chose to maintain or build new downtown highways. 3) Other cities considering tearing down highways.

 

BayouGreenways 

(In development)

The Bayou Greenways Initiative is one of the most exciting and transformative regional projects currently underway in Houston. The massive network of waterways crisscrossing the region represent a natural network for transportation, exercise, and economic development and community development.

In the Fall of 2015, the Kinder Institute will hold conversations with stakeholders in the project to discuss what types of analysis and comparative work would be helpful to the development of the project. 

 

Fifth Ward Greenspace, Bayous, and Development 

(In development) 

Working with partners from the Rice School of Architecture, the Kinder Insitute intends to conduct a study of the lower part of the Fifth Ward's connection to Buffalo Bayou and the potential impact the bayou's redevelopment could have on the neighborhood.

This project is in its initial stages and in the Fall of 2015 the Kinder Institute will be meeting with stakeholders and partners to focus our role.