‘Houston a Year After Harvey’ is topic at Rice’s Baker Institute Aug. 30


David Ruth

Jeff Falk

‘Houston a Year After Harvey’ is topic at Rice’s Baker Institute Aug. 30

HOUSTON – (Aug. 16, 2018) – One year after the devastation from Hurricane Harvey, experts will gather at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy Aug. 30 to examine the ongoing challenges of flooding in Houston and possible policy solutions.

Courtesy of Rice’s Baker Institute

The event, hosted by the Baker Institute and the Bayou City Initiative, is free and open to the public but registration is required.

Who: Ambassador Edward Djerejian, director of the Baker Institute, will give introductory remarks.

Jim Blackburn, founder of the Bayou City Initiative, will give a presentation. Blackburn is professor in the practice of environmental law at Rice; co-director of the university’s Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disaster Center; and a Rice Faculty Scholar at the Baker Institute.

Panelists will be Tom McCasland, director of the Housing and Community Development Department for the city of Houston; Mary Anne Piacentini, executive director of the Katy Prairie Conservancy; and Rob Rogers, partner at Rogers Partners Architects + Urban Designers.

Mustafa Tameez, managing director of Outreach Strategists, will serve as panel moderator.

What: A presentation and panel titled “Houston a Year After Harvey: Ongoing Flooding Challenges and Proposed Solutions.”

When: Thursday, Aug. 30, 6:30-8:30 p.m. A reception will be held at 5:30.

Where: Rice University, James A. Baker III Hall, Doré Commons, 6100 Main St.

Houston and Harris County remain vulnerable to the threat of widespread flooding, according to this event’s organizers. The existing flood plain map is outdated, and the frequency and severity of major flood events is likely to increase in the years ahead, putting Houstonians’ livelihoods at risk, organizers said. Addressing the threat of flooding requires a transparent and collaborative re-evaluation of the city’s infrastructure to improve flood mitigation while ensuring equity for communities throughout the region. Positive efforts are underway, but creating a more flood-resilient Houston will require new ideas and a willingness to innovate, organizers said.

To read Blackburn’s Baker Institute papers on Houston and flooding, including an Aug. 10 paper titled “Houston a Year after Harvey: Where We Are and Where We Need to Be,” go to www.bakerinstitute.org/experts/jim-blackburn.

The public must RSVP for the event at www.bakerinstitute.org/events/1952. A live webcast will be available at the event page.

Members of the news media who want to attend should RSVP to Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at jfalk@rice.edu or 713-348-6775.

For a map of Rice University’s campus with parking information, go to www.rice.edu/maps. Media should park in the Central Campus Garage (underground).


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Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks among the top three university-affiliated think tanks in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at www.bakerinstitute.org or on the institute’s blog, http://blogs.chron.com/bakerblog.

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.