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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.



Sea-level, Subsidence, Sand Budgets, Socio-economic and Development Strategies


John Anderson, Ph.D., Department of Earth Sciences, Rice University
Christopher Hight, Ph.D., School of Architecture, Rice University

 John Anderson 
Dr. John Anderson 
 Christopher Hight
Dr. Christopher Hight 
Project Background

The upper Texas Coast has experienced a recent surge in development, particularly on the west end of Galveston Island.  With this growth comes public outcry for better planning that will protect the integrity of the coast for future generations.  Hurricane Ike provided a harsh lesson in the need for better planning for sustained development of the upper Texas Coast. This project is unique in that it includes a detailed assessment of the Geohazards associated with development on barrier islands and peninsulas as well as forward looking design strategies that attempt to re-shape current thinking about development on these fragile environments.  It is a collaborative effort between the Department of Earth Sciences, under the direction of Dr. John Anderson, and the Department of Architecture, under the direction of Dr. Christopher Hight.   The area of the study extends from Surfside Beach to High Island, focusing on Galveston Island. 


Gilcrest, Before and After Ike 


Video: Planning Galveston's Future 

Reports and Publications (also download here)

Book Version 



The town of Gilcrest, Texas before and after Hurricane Ike. 

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