Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research has a busy spring lined up. Through its cutting-edge research, the “think-and-do tank” addresses important urban policy issues and provides relevant information to governing decision-makers that benefit communities in the Greater Houston Area, the American Sunbelt, and around the world. The institute offers programs that are open to the public and are designed to inform us or communities of issues and solution options that affect our lives. The Kinder Institute Forum hosts national speakers who address the prevalent concerns of Houstonians. Urban Reads showcases recently published works of the Kinder Institute’s staff and associates. The KI Forum and Urban Reads are free. The Kinder Institute Luncheon provides the public with an overview of the work that is being done, including the results of the 2018 Kinder Houston Area Survey.
Planner and Policy Entrepreneur Harriet Tregoning is the guest speaker for February’s Kinder Institute Forum at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Tregoning is the immediate past Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Community Planning and Development at the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development. She initiated the first ever $1 billion National Disaster Resilience Competition. Her work at HUD encompassed helping states, regions, cities, counties, and towns across the country build a strong foundation for resilience in the face of a changing climate. She is now working with organizations around the country to help states and localities increase their resilience to future natural and economic disasters. At the KI Forum on Wednesday, February 21 at 7 p.m. Tregoning will discuss how communities and government recover from natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey.
In March, the KI Forum hosts New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Under Landrieu, New Orleans has become America’s best comeback story and one of the fastest growing major cities in America. Since 2010, New Orleans has been ranked as the number one metropolitan area for overall economic recovery by the Brookings Institute and as America’s Best City for School Reform by the Fordham Institute. New Orleans also received the World Tourism Award for outstanding accomplishments in the travel and hospitality industry. Now, the city is continuing to progress toward its 300th anniversary in 2018. Mayor Landrieu will address the lessons learned in New Orleans following natural disasters on Wednesday, March 14 at 7 p.m. at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
April kicks off with the launch of Talk City: A Chronicle of Political Life in An All-American Town. The book, written by Bill Fulton, Director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research, chronicles his time as mayor of Ventura, California. Talk City is a collection of the remarkable blogs the distinguished urban planner wrote while leading the California beach town. The blog started out as a way to explain what had happened at the weekly council meetings. Before long, however, it turned into an evocative, real-time chronicle of what it was like to serve as an underpaid, overstressed, part-time local elected official during hard times. If you like local government and politics, you’ll love how Talk City reveals the stresses and strains of serving as an elected official in a typical American city. Fulton will talk about his experiences and sign copies of the book on Tuesday, April 3 at 7 p.m. at Rice University’s BioScience Research Collaborative, 6500 South Main Street.
The month of April rounds out with the Kinder Institute Luncheon on April 23. The luncheon program will feature Founding Director Stephen Klineberg’s presentation of the 37th Kinder Houston Area Survey, which offers a unique glimpse into our city’s evolution and historical perspectives on the people who call Houston home. No city in the nation has been followed so meticulously over such a long period of time. This year, the survey also looks at the effects of Hurricane Harvey, the personal impact, and the potential public policies Houstonians believe that catastrophe will engender.
The luncheon will also honor Angela Blanchard with the 2018 Stephen L. Klineberg Award for her many years of service to Greater Houston. Blanchard, President Emerita of BakerRipley, is a globally recognized expert in community development, disaster recovery, and effective long-term integration for immigrants and refugees. Her breakthrough strategies have successfully revitalized neighborhoods by leveraging Houston’s diversity, while providing a powerful model for cities across the globe facing the complex challenges of community transformation. The luncheon will be held at the Marriott Marquis Houston (at Discovery Green).
The issues, information, and influencers featured at these events are a part of and could affect our communities. We welcome you to join the Kinder Institute for Urban Research for any or all.