A FOCUS ON THE HOUSTON METROPOLITAN REGION
Summary of a Workshop
Dominic A. Brose, Rapporteur
Committee on Pathways to Urban Sustainability:
A Focus on the Houston Metropolitan Region
Science and Technology for Sustainability Program
Policy and Global Affairs
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001
NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This summary report and the workshop on which it was based were supported by the Houston Endowment, Inc. and the Brown Foundation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsor that provided support for the project.
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Copyright 2012 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering.
The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.
The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.
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COMMITTEE ON PATHWAYS TO URBAN SUSTAINABILITY: A FOCUS ON THE HOUSTON METROPOLITAN REGION
Jim Lester (Chair), President, Houston Advanced Research Center
Glen T. Daigger, Senior Vice President, CH2M HILL
Winifred J. Hamilton, Professor and Director, Chronic Disease Prevention and Control Research Center’s Environmental Health Section, Baylor College of Medicine
Marilu Hastings, Environment Program Director, The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation
Mary Ellen Hynes, Director of Research, Infrastructure and Geophysical Division, Department of Homeland Security
John Nielsen-Gammon, Regents Professor and Texas State Climatologist, Texas A&M University
Walter G. Peacock, Professor of Urban Planning, Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning and Director, Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center, Texas A&M University
Jeff Taebel, Director of Community and Environmental Planning, Houston-Galveston Area Council
Bruce Wilcoxon, HSE/SD Lead, Deepwater Gulf of Mexico Exploration, ConocoPhillips
Marina Moses, Director, Science and Technology for Sustainability Program
Dominic Brose, Program Officer, Science and Technology for Sustainability Program
Pat Koshel, Senior Program Officer, Science and Technology for Sustainability Program
Jennifer Saunders, Program Officer, Science and Technology for Sustainability Program
Dylan Richmond, Research Assistant, Science and Technology for Sustainability Program
Emi Kameyama, Senior Program Assistant, Science and Technology for Sustainability Program
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PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
In January 2012 the National Research Council’s Science and Technology for Sustainability Program held a workshop organized by the Committee on Pathways to Urban Sustainability: A Focus on the Houston Metropolitan Region. The workshop was held to foster a discussion on approaches to urban sustainability in the Houston metropolitan region; to highlight policies and programs that might be developed to further sustainability based on the evidence base; and to help identify place-based research needs and assess promising practices. The workshop was intended to serve as a platform to establish new cooperative programs between federal and local stakeholders, and to engage regional associations, academic institutions, think tanks, and other groups engaged in urban research.
This document has been prepared by the workshop rapporteur as a factual summary of what occurred at the workshop. The statements made in this volume are those of the rapporteur and do not necessarily represent positions of the workshop participants as a whole, the steering committee, the Science and Technology for Sustainability program, or the National Academies. This workshop summary is the result of substantial effort and collaboration among several organizations and individuals. We wish to extend a sincere thanks to each member of the steering committee for their contributions in scoping, developing, and carrying out this project, and to the Shell Center for Sustainability for their assistance in hosting the workshop at Rice University. The project would not have been possible without financial support from the Houston Endownment, Inc. and the Brown Foundation.
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Academies’ Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for quality and objectivity. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process.
We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Lester King, Rice University; Judy Layzer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Stephen Linder, The University of Texas; and Kumares Sinha, Purdue University. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the content of the report, nor did they see the final draft before its release. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the rapporteur and the institution.
Dominic A. Brose