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  • Shell Center for Sustainability
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Mission

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.

HSI 2014 header directory
 

EVENT SPEAKERS 

 

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John Anderson is the Maurice Ewing Professor of Oceanography at Rice University and the Academic Director of the Shell Center for Sustainability. His current research interests are in 1) the recent retreat history of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and those factors that regulated ice sheet retreat, and 2) The evolution of the US Gulf Coast and response of coastal environments to global change. John has participated in 24 scientific expeditions to Antarctica. He has authored and co-authored over 200 refereed publications, edited 5 volumes and published two books, “Antarctic Marine Geology” (Cambridge University Press), and “Formation and Future of the Upper Texas Coast”.  John is past president of the Society of Sedimentary Research.  He has received several awards, including two Rice teaching awards, the Outstanding Educator Award of the Gulf Coast Geological Society and the 2007 Shepard Medal of the Society for Sedimentary Research.

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Brian J. Crimmins is the Chief of Staff for the City of Houston’s Planning and Development Department. Since joining the Department in 2006, Brian has worked to revise “one size fits all” ordinances by developing creative solutions that recognize the uniqueness of areas without the use of zoning. His efforts include major revisions to Houston’s parking ordinance and primary land development code. As the Chief of Staff, he has taken a proactive approach to citizen engagement by working to remove the barriers between government and the community. Brian graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Urban and Regional Planning. Before moving to Houston, he worked for the Michigan Department of Transportation on the bi-national team studying the need for additional border crossing capacity in the Detroit/Windsor region. In his private time, Brian is involved with BikeHouston, a non-profit organization that works to secure equitable access for bicyclists to regional facilities, lands and roads; educates members of the public and policymakers about rights and responsibilities of bicyclists; and promotes public awareness of the personal and community benefits of cycling.

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 Lester King specializes in sustainable development planning and creating context sensitive solutions for urban development. He is a certified planner with experience in community development; master planning and sustainability planning. Dr. King has experience with leading consensus building strategies for public participation/ community involvement support for the identification and delineation of planning objectives at the federal, state, and municipal project level.  He has experience with developing sustainability indicators and has contributed to local, national and international efforts to develop sustainability planning systems.

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Jeff Nittrouer is a professor of Geology at Rice University.  Dr. Nittrouer received his PhD at the University of Texas at Austin (2010, Geology), and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Illinois (2012, Geology and Civil and Environmental Engineering). His research examines sediment transport, hydrology, and morphodynamics of fluvial, deltaic, and coastal systems, in order to understand how physical processes interact to shape the Earth’s surface, over modern to geological timescales. 

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Albert Pope is the Gus Sessions Wortham Professor of Architecture at the Rice University School of Architecture. Professor Pope is an architect and author who has written extensively on the problems and prospects of the contemporary Megalopolis. He is the author of Ladders, published by Princeton Architectural Press.

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Steven Scarborough joined the Center for Houston’s Future as Strategic Initiatives Analyst in October 2013 and was promoted to Manager of Strategic Initiatives in early 2014. He is primarily involved with overseeing the research and outreach aspects of the Center’s Community Indicator program. He first worked at the Center in 2009 as an intern conducting research for CHF’s Scenarios 2040 project and supporting the Strategic Initiatives Team. Prior to assuming his current position at the Center, Scarborough was with the Greater Houston Partnership for nearly two as Public Policy Analyst. At GHP, he conducted public policy research and helped assemble their 2013 legislative agenda. Steven was also a registered lobbyist and managed the Public Policy Division’s weekly Executive Leadership Report for GHP’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee. He has served in an intern capacity at a number of organizations, including Justice for Children and ASAP/BRAC (an anti-poverty/development organization in Dhaka, Bangladesh). Scarborough has also taught students U.S. History at his alma mater, Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies, with a focus on 20th century political history and economics.

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Diane Schenke is the President of the Greater East End Management District, and has served in that role since June 1, 2009. She is also a long time East End advocate, the former President and Executive Director of The Park People, the Gulf Coast Program Manager for The Nature Conservancy and the Executive Director of The Grand Parkway Association. Before working for governmental and nonprofit entities, Diane worked as an environmental  lawyer for law firms and corporations. Diane brings a variety of experiences to her position as President of the Greater East End Management District. Since Diane moved to the Greater East End Management District, the District has received grant funds of  over $25M in grants and commitments of another $4.5M in capital funds in the Second Ward and Harrisburg Corridor for pedestrian friendly improvements to compliment the East End Rail Line and real estate improvements. These improvements are grounded in strong community input on the vision for this area through the Livable Centers process.

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Anton Sinkewich is the Executive Director of the East Downtown Management District, an organization focused on creative community building, quality of life related development, marketing, and maintenance in the EaDo (East Downtown) District of Houston, TX. A graduate of Rice University School of Architecture, and a resident of Houston's East End, Anton is a passionate advocate for sustainability, multi modal transportation, and especially Houston's redevelopment as great socially equitable city. Anton's work is focused on community building projects in Houston, many of which are working toward a high level of social benefit and quality of life in the city, and changing perceptions to value sustainability and cooperation. These projects include temporary events leading to permanent improvements such as Tree Planting parties, Pop up parks, and other events in addition to Long range planning and implementation projects involving transportation, housing, and public space development- all intended to support redevelopment of the city at a human scale.

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Steven Spears, a Principal with Design Workshop, is an urban designer with over a decade of professional experience throughout the United States, Australia and New Zealand where he has created numerous urban design framework plans, redevelopment strategies, community master plans and revitalization plans.  Additionally, his experience in landscape architecture, urban design and site planning has focused on placemaking. Steven’s desire to balance the environmental, community, economic and artistic benefits in every project creates successful results. Steven is a graduate of Ball State University’s College of Architecture and Planning and holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Texas at Austin.  Steven is also Design Workshop’s Legacy Art Forum Leader. Design Workshop is the planning, urban design and landscape architecture consultant for Midtown. He is the principal leading all Midtown projects.

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Jeff Taebel  is the Director of Community and Environmental Planning at the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC). He has over 31 year of local and regional planning experience, including 27 in his current position. His responsibilities include overseeing the agency's community and economic development, disaster recovery, environmental planning, livable communities, socioeconomic modeling and sustainable development programs. His major accomplishments include: Forming a broad coalition of local governments and non-governmental organizations to develop Our Regional 2040, a high level, long range plan for sustainable development in the 13-county Houston-Galveston region; Establishing H-GAC's Livable Centers program, which has provided funding for planning and infrastructure to create mixed use walkable places; Developing one of the nation's leading applications for the UrbanSim socioeconomic and land use modeling tool used for growth forecasting and scenario testing; Leading a blue-ribbon panel in preparing H-GAC's Foresight Panel on Environmental Effects report --which includes detailed recommendations for local governments to adapt to the potential environmental effects of climate change. Mr. Taebel is pas President of the Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) and has also served on the Urban Land Institute Houston District Council Executive Committee and co-chaired its Sustainability Committee. His work has received local, state and national awards and, in 2008, he was named a Fellow of the american Institute of Certified Planners. Mr. Taebel received a Master of Urban Planning degree from Texas A&M University and a B.S. in Life Sciences at the University of Nebraska.

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John Wilburn joined the Center for Houston’s Future in August 2013 as Director of Strategic Initiatives. His career spans print, broadcast, and online journalism, primarily in Houston. Wilburn spent a decade at the Houston Chronicle, serving five years as managing editor and four years as opinion editor. Before joining the Chronicle he piloted newspapers and magazines in all three of Texas' big cities: as managing editor of Houston City Magazine, creator and editor of Viva (the Sunday magazine of the San Antonio Light), managing editor of Dallas Life (the Sunday magazine of The Dallas Morning News) and founding editor of the Houston Press. Following his tenure at the Press, Wilburn spent four years as a reporter and producer for Talking With David Frost, the PBS television interview program that featured such diverse personalities as Ross Perot, Garth Brooks, George Bush, Carlos Salinas, Luciano Pavarotti, and Bill Gates. Wilburn then enjoyed a five-year sojourn in new media, first as founder and executive producer of Microsoft's MSN Sidewalk/Houston, then as news and operations manager of KHOU.com, the website of Houston's CBS television affiliate. He began his career as a fact checker for Reader’s Digest, and more recently had a hand in launching Houstonia magazine as editor in chief. Wilburn holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William & Mary and a master’s in history from George Mason University, where he serves on the dean’s advisory board of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

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