Transportation, flooding vulnerability among issues to be discussed at Shell Center community symposium March 26

Rice University’s Shell Center for Sustainability will present new findings from the Houston Community Sustainability study at a community symposium from 1:30 to 6 p.m. March 26 in Duncan Hall’s McMurtry Auditorium.


The recently released report, “Houston Community Sustainability: The Quality of Life Atlas,” presents a comprehensive look at development patterns in the 88 super neighborhoods in Houston using 24 social, economic and environmental indicators of sustainability. Super neighborhoods are the name for communities in Houston. Their boundaries are defined by clusters of subdivisions, service stores and schools where residents live, shop and interact.

Lester King, a sustainability fellow at the Shell Center and the report’s author, said the report presents data on the biggest issues that Houstonians care about that are plaguing the city, such as transportation and flooding. The study is part of the Houston Sustainability Indicators project.

“Now more than ever, Houstonians are traveling alone using private cars, and this number is steadily growing,” King said. “Although 56 percent of Houstonians support public transit, only 5 percent utilize these services, resulting in METRO’s 51 percent gap in meeting the needs of Houstonians today.”

King also noted that flooding is a significant issue, with seven super neighborhoods — including Lake Houston, Eldridge, Braeswood, Kashmere, Addicks, Braeburn and Meyerland — having more than 50 percent of their populations in flood zones.

“These areas at risk for flooding comprise approximately 25 percent of the city, presenting a real problem for homeowners,” King said.

The report’s recommendations are based on data collected from the U.S. Census Bureau and other national and state datasets, as well as input from city government officials, academic institutions and nonprofits.

King said the event is an opportunity for community participation. Several other city agencies will also present the latest work they are doing to enhance quality of life in Houston.

The event is free and open to the public. To register for the presentation or for more information, visit

About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.