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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.

Houston Sustainability Indicators (HSI)


Research Team

About Lester King  
Lester O. King, PhD. specializes in sustainable development and the development of performance indicators for urban development. He is a certified and skilled research specialist with experience in community development; master planning, transportation planning, and sustainability planning. As Principal Investigator for the Houston Sustainability Indicators Project (HSI), he developed a procedure and methodology for a robust program to monitor sustainable development in the Houston, Texas area. His team developed a web-based management tool, the Houston Sustainability Indicators Quality of Life Atlas, capable of monitoring key urban performance indicators for Houston, and analyzing trends and correlations between indicators. This tool is capable of supporting the development of short term and long range policy implications. The HSI database serves as a resource for various local government departments, elected officials, and local neighborhood organizations for urban sustainability projects.

Following a model of integrative science for building a comprehensive indicators dataset, the HSI database brought together a robust collection of different datasets including: raster data from the National Land Cover Database (NLCD) developed by the U.S. Geological Survey; Greenhouse Gas emissions inventory from the Vulcan Project based at Arizona State University; Continuous cover of National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) from the Environmental Protection Agency; Business agglomeration analysis and monitoring growth in primary businesses from InfoUSA;  Local and State administrative data on voting performance, waste management, parks development, and capital improvement projects; Decennial Census and American Community Survey socio-economic data is also included.

The HSI Project is now in its fifth (5th) year and has published 5 annual reports. HSI has been accepted for presentation at conference proceedings throughout the US and internationally in Ireland, Barbados, Brazil, Canada and Portugal. Under Dr. King's guidance, the research provides hands on learning opportunities for students in various academic units at Rice University, including the Department of Statistics, the Professional Science Masters Program, and the Jones School of Business.

Lester King

Interns and Fellows

The Innaugural Advisory Team:

Jim Blackburn, J.D.  

Mr. Blackburn has been an attorney for more than 30 years. He is a partner in Blackburn Carter, P.C., and also a Professor in the Practice of Environmental Law in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rice University. Jim serves as Director of the Interdisciplinary Minor in Energy and Water Sustainability at Rice and is a Faculty Associate for the SSPEED Center studying ?Lessons Learned from Hurricane Ike?. His current caseload
includes litigation over the future of the whooping crane on the Texas Coast and opposition to permits needed to enable uranium mining in Goliad County. In 2004, Texas A&M press published his manuscript titled The Book of Texas Bays. In 2009, Blackburn co-authored a compilation of art and poems titled Birds: A Collection of Verse and Vision.
Jim Blackburn
Stephen Klineberg, Ph.D.  

Dr. Klineberg joined Rice University's Sociology Department in 1972. The recipient of ten major teaching awards, including the George R. Brown Lifetime Award for Excellence in Teaching, he is a faculty associate and divisional advisor at Lovett College. In March 1982, he and his students initiated the annual Houston Area Survey, now in its 29th year of tracking the changes in the demographic patterns, life experiences, attitudes, and beliefs of Harris
County residents. Co-author of The Present of Things Future: Explorations of Time in Human Experience, Dr. Klineberg has written numerous journal articles and research reports, and appears frequently on radio and television. He is also the founding Co-director of Rice University's Kinder Institute for Urban Research.
Stephen Klineberg
Ron Soligo, Ph. D.  

Dr. Ronald Soligo is Professor Emeritus of economics at Rice University and a Rice scholar at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy. His research focuses on economic growth and development and energy economics. Soligo was awarded the 2001 Best Paper Prize from the International Association for Energy Economics for his co-authored paper with Kenneth B. Medlock III, “Economic Development and End-Use Energy Demand” (Energy Journal, April 2001). Other recently published articles include “State-Backed Financing in Oil and Gas Projects,” with Amy Myers Jaffe in “Global Energy Governance: The New Rules of the Game,” eds. Andreas Goldthau and Jan Martin Witte (Brookings Press, 2010); “The United States, Cuba Sanctions and the Potential for Energy Trade,” with Amy Myers Jaffe in “9 Ways To Talk To Cuba & For Cuba To Talk To US” (The Center for Democracy in the Americas, 2009); “The Militarization of Energy—The Russian Connection,” with Amy Myers Jaffe in “Energy Security and Global Politics: The Militarization of Resource Management,” eds. Daniel Moran and James Russell (Routledge 2008); “Market Structure in the New Gas Economy: Is Cartelization Possible?” with Amy Myers Jaffe in “Natural Gas and Geopolitics: From 1970 to 2040” (Oxford University Press, 2006); “The Role of Inventories in Oil Market Stability,” with Amy Myers Jaffe (Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, 2002); “Automobile Ownership and Economic Development: Forecasting Passenger Vehicle Demand to the Year 2015,” with Kenneth B. Medlock III (Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, May 2002); “The Economics of Pipeline Routes: The Conundrum of Oil Exports from the Caspian Basin,” with Amy Myers Jaffe in “Energy in the Caspian Region: Present and Future,” eds. Amy Myers Jaffe, Yelena Kalyuzhnova, Dov Lynch and Robin Sickles (Palgrave Macmillan, 2002); and “Potential Growth for U.S. Energy in Cuba,” with Amy Myers Jaffe (ASCE Volume 12 Proceedings, Cuba in Transition website). Soligo also worked on issues regarding energy security and the politicization of energy supplies. He holds a Ph.D. from Yale University. 
Ron Soligo

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