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The Shell Center for Sustainability's mission is to foster an interdisciplinary program of research, outreach, and education to address actions that can be taken to ensure the sustainable development of communities' living standards, interpreted broadly, to encompass all factors affecting the overall quality of life.


Interactive website from Rice’s Shell Center provides insight on sustainability in Houston 

Amy Hodges 

November 20, 2014

Houstonians can learn more about sustainability and livability issues in the Bayou City, thanks to a new interactive website from Rice University’s Shell Center for Sustainability. 


A first-of-its-kind website for Houston, www.houstoncommunitysustainability.org provides data from three years’ worth of reporting: “Houston Sustainable Development Indicators: A Comprehensive Development Review for Citizens, Analysts and Decision-Makers,” released in 2012; “Sustainable Development of Houston Districts: The Health of the City,” released in 2013; and “Houston Community Sustainability: The Quality of Life Atlas,” released earlier this year. The three reports offer a widespread look at 24 social, economic and environmental indicators of sustainability at the super neighborhood, council district and city levels. The website allows users to interact with data from these three reports and compare indicators within super neighborhoods and within council districts.

Lester King, sustainability fellow at the Shell Center, author of the reports and creator of the website, said the Shell Center seeks to significantly contribute to the knowledge base on sustainability in Houston by demonstrating how comprehensive data can be used to understand significant issues affecting the city.

“It was important for us here at Rice to maintain our role in the city as providers of high- quality and unbiased research,” King said. “Therefore, we have made the data freely available using the most modern visualization techniques. Individuals can use the data as they deem necessary. This dynamic website represents a showpiece for Houston, something for which Houstonians can take great pride in visualizing development patterns across the city.”

To see the data visualization, users can visit the homepage at www.houstoncommunitysustainability.org. Click on either the “super neighborhood” or “council district” links at the top of the page and then select a choice of visualization map style. Users can choose radar charts, performance analysis or indicator overlay. After a visualization style is selected, the page will load with a map of the city in the upper left side of the page. On the map, users can click on an individual super neighborhood or council district to browse available data. Data is also available on each map at the city level.

More information is available on the website.