As most of us continue to settle into our new normal, we at Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research remain focused on keeping communities informed, engaged and enlightened on the most pressing urban issues.

Here’s an update on what’s taking shape at the Kinder Institute for Urban Research.

Public Programs

Our slate of fall 2020 speakers are confirmed:

KI ForumThe Kinder Institute Forum lecture series, which features thought leaders from around the world sharing ideas on a wide spectrum of urban issues, will host two speakers this fall. On September 9, UCLA Professor Robert J. Jackson will explore the ways in which cities can rethink urban design and their use of public space in the post-pandemic world. On November 11, Tamika L. Butler, a national expert on issues related to the built environment, equity and diversity, will discuss the importance of inclusive urban design and how to make transportation and public spaces more equitable.

Urban ReadsIn the next installment of the Kinder Institute’s Urban Reads series, acclaimed economist Rucker C. Johnson will discuss his new book, “Children of the Dream: Why School Integration Works” (October 29). Our program partners are Rice University’s Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative LearningOffice of Diversity and Inclusion and the MultiCultural Center; and the Task Force on Slavery, Segregation, and Racial Injustice.

All of our 2020 programs will be presented virtually and, as a public service to the community, are free with registration. You can find more information on these and other fall events, as well as a video library of past Kinder Institute programs, on our events page.

Urban Edge

Through the Urban Edge blog, the institute’s work and research are highlighted and explored through stories of the people and communities impacted by the findings. Our goal is to provide well-informed coverage of Houston and other cities — both what they’re doing well and ways they can improve — as well as shed light on how they can serve communities more effectively. In the past few months, we have worked diligently to advance the ongoing conversation about urban issues and expand the Urban Edge’s reach.

  • In our “COVID-19 and Cities” series, we regularly feature experts — many of whom have local and national followings — sharing their views on the global pandemic and its impact on our lives. Nate Cherry, Wellington Reiter, James Rojas Urban Edgeand Kinder Institute Director Bill Fulton are among those who recently contributed posts. Fulton’s post “Here’s what our cities will look like after the coronavirus pandemic” has been viewed more than 37,000 times since it was published at the end of March – making it one of the most popular stories in the blog’s five-year history.
  • Proactive outreach has resulted in more stories from new contributors with diverse voices and opinions. Posts on race relations and inequities are now an integral part of the Urban Edge’s coverage. A blog series on race relations and racial injustice has included essays from Sociology Professor Tony Brown and Houston author Wilfred D. Brown, among others — and there’s more to come.
  • On Monday, Aug. 17, the Urban Edge channel will launch on the Apple News app. The partnership is part of Apple News’ recently launched local-news feature, which highlights local newspapers and digital publishers, including the Houston Chronicle, Texas Monthly, the Texas Tribune and the Texas Observer. Urban Edge stories can be found on the app in the “Today” feed, as well as on the Urban Edge channel.
  • A week later, Aug. 24, a series examining the intersection of race, equity and public transit gets underway on the blog. The series will feature posts written by well-respected urban planUrban Edgener Christof Spieler; Tamika Butler, former executive director of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust and former executive director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition; Houston public transit advocate Janis Scott and experts from TransitCenter, a public transit think tank and advocacy group in New York. 

As a result of collective efforts, we have seen significant increases in traffic on the Urban Edge, up 133% in the first half of 2020, compared to 2019.

To receive the Urban Edge in your inbox every morning, sign up for our e-newsletter.

Covid-19 Registry

You may have Covid-19 Registryseen the digital ads for the COVID-19 Registry running in the Houston Defender during August. The COVID-19 Registry collects information about the health and economic impacts of the pandemic that will help health departments assess who is being affected and how. The ads are part of a larger outreach effort to increase the number of Black and Latinx respondents. Visit here to complete the survey.

Through our communication and collective efforts, we strive to uphold the institute’s brand promise of “building better cities, building better lives.” And our commitment to ensuring that our work reflects our diverse and rich histories is even stronger as we face today’s challenges.

Be safe and thank you for your support!

Rose R.

Rose Rougeau is the senior director of external affairs, university partnerships and special projects at Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research. She is also the editor-in-chief of the Urban Edge, a blog of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research.

Follow: @IAmRoseRougeau