Non-profit

Kinder Institute for Urban Research

Website:

kinder.rice.edu

Location:

Houston, TX

Director:

Stephen L. Klineberg

The Kinder Institute for Urban Research is a left-of-center think-tank run by Rice University in Houston, Texas which focuses on combining research with direct political action. [1] The Institute produces the annual Houston Area Survey, the longest-running urban area survey in the United States. In addition to the annual Houston Area Survey, the Kinder Institute publishes dozens of research reports each year on subjects ranging from education to left-of-center economic development initiatives.

History

In February 2010, Rice University established the Institute for Urban Research by combining its Center on Race, Religion, and Urban Life with its existing Urban Research Center. [2] In November of the same year, the Kinder Foundation endowed the Institute for Urban Research at Rice University with a $15 million gift. [3] The Foundation is the private family foundation of energy tycoon Richard Kinder of Morgan Kinder and his wife, Nancy. [4]

The original goal of the Kinder Institute was to provide a permanent home for the annual Houston Area Survey, which the Institute completed for the 30th time in 2011. [5] Also in 2011, the Kinder Institute conducted the third Houston Area Asian Survey, a political attitudes survey of 500 Asian-Americans in Harris County. [6] The Kinder Institute also helped to form the Global Urban Initiatives project, a transnational initiative replicate the Houston Area Survey in global cities including New York, Shanghai, Mumbai, and Buenos Aires to compare attitudes of residents from diverse cities around the world. [7]

For the past decade, the Kinder Institute has continued to conduct research in Houston, using quantitative methods to advocate for left-of-center policy proposals. In addition to coordinating research initiatives, the Kinder Institute sponsors educational programs and conducts public outreach in fields including health, education, and economic development. [8] In 2018, the Kinder Institute announced that it would be narrowing its focus to six research areas: education, governance, housing, mobility and transportation, population resilience, and demographics. [9]

In 2018, the Kinder Institute published close to two dozen reports, including two major reports in governance. [10] Research focused heavily on infrastructure and urban development, in addition to governance issues such as the public service provision model in Houston. [11]

Present Activities

The Kinder Institute has a team that works on a range of action-driven research initiatives, focusing on urban issues in Houston and around the world. Most of the Institute’s work occurs through its research activities, but the Kinder Institute also runs several databases to increase academic access to demographic data.

Education

Much of the Institute’s research has focused on promoting increased government intervention in education, encouraging lawmakers to adopt increased funding for pre-kindergarten education. [12] A February 2019 report also advocated for policy makers to increase funding for arts-education in public schools. [13] The Institute has also pushed for ending the model which ties school ratings to student performance, instead arguing that each individual school should be permitted to create its own criteria by which it would be ranked. [14]

The Institute has also argued that increased investment in adult education and job training programs will not allow individuals to find higher-paying jobs, instead advocating for the increase of the minimum wage in the service industry to a “living” wage. [15]

Housing, Mobility, and Urban Planning

Other reports at the Institute have focused on housing, mobility, and urban planning. In December 2019, the Institute published a report arguing that investments in public transportation are contributing to changes in land use and gentrification. [16] The report claimed that transit development may result in the displacement of low-income communities, and as a result, the author advocates for policies such as tax abatements and community land trusts to prevent residents from moving out of communities as they become more expensive. [17]

One researcher writing a piece for Kinder Institute blog Urban Edge used his personal experience on the Houston Metro to argue that Houston voters should approve a $3.5 billion bond to expand public transportation. [18] The researcher argued that voters should vote in favor of the massive bond, using his improved mood and increased leisure time on public transit as evidence that the bond would be good policy. [19]

The Kinder Institute has published dozens of reports on urban planning and development, ranging from subjects like police department funding to gentrification. In 2018, the Kinder Institute published a report claiming to predict which neighborhoods in the Houston area would become gentrified, using data on the number of renters, the average non-white population, education levels, and income levels in particular communities. [20] The Institute has also published reports on disaster relief, especially in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. In November 2019, Kinder Institute scholar Chris Hakkenberg developed a model of growth in the Houston area to estimate the impact of flooding on Houston residents. [21]

In 2016, the Kinder Institute created a so-called “Disparity Atlas,” claiming to showcase economic disparities within Houston along racial and geographic lines. [22] The report is part of the larger Urban Disparity and Opportunity (UDO) program which seeks to conduct research and motivate leaders to adopt policies aimed at reducing economic inequality. [23] Two years later, a research team supported by the Kinder Institute conducted a report on refugee resettlement in the Houston area. The report recommended a range of left-of-center social interventions to deal with the refugee crisis, including federally funded English language programs, no-interest educational loans, and free public transportation for refugees. [24]

Governance and Economic Development

Kinder Institute staff members have advocated for left-of-center government policies, specifically around immigration. In April 2019, the Institute republished a story from The Texas Tribune, arguing that Trump should not close the U.S.-Mexico border. [25] The Institute also attributed Democratic victories in the 2018 Texas midterm elections to Democratic lawmakers’ commitments to “things that matter,” including increasing school funding, increasing teacher salaries, and increasing school safety. [26]

In the field of economic development, the Kinder Institute advocates for a range of left-of-center solutions to economic issues, including increasing the minimum wage, providing government-funded affordable housing subsidies, and promoting government initiatives to close racial wealth gaps. [27] [28] [29]

Kinder Institute Urban Data Platform and Houston Community Data Connections

The Kinder Institute began to focus more heavily on data collection in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, launching the Houston Community Data Connections (HCDC) dashboard in 2017 and hosting a public workshop to educate the public on how to use the data to push for political. [30] The database allows community members to access Kinder Institute statistics and compile data visualizations in an attempt to push for political reform. [31] Houston Community Data Connections (HCDC) is an internet database organized by the Kinder Institute which provides neighborhood-level data indicators for 143 Harris County areas encompassing the greater Houston metropolitan area. [32]

The Kinder Institute launched the Urban Data Platform (UDP) in 2018, and it is funded in part by the Houston Endowment, a left-of-center social change organization. [33] [34] The Houston Endowment gave a three-year, $2.25 million grant to the Urban Data Project in 2019 in addition to several previous donations to other Kinder initiatives. [35]

The Urban Data Platform compiles data within the Houston Metropolitan Area and provides software for data analysis. [36] The Urban Data Platform also hosts a catalog of datasets available for download and allows researchers to submit their own data. [37] Though the initiative’s express goal is to “advance knowledge and information” about the city of Houston, the Urban Data Platform only allows access to certain approved researchers selected by the UDP Oversight Committee and limits what sets even approved users are able to access. [38] As of July 2019, only 400 users have access to the system. [39]

Both data projects are designed to assist in research on government efficiency, urban systems, and quality of life metrics for Houston residents. [40]

People and Funding

In 2010, the Kinder Institute received a $15 million endowment from the Kinder Foundation, the family foundation of Richard and Nancy Kinder. [41] In 2018, the Foundation gave a further $6 million to the school of sciences at Rice University to support the research of the Kinder Institute. [42] Through the full funding of the Kinder Institute is not disclosed, the Kinder Institute has received further gifts to support particular projects. [43]

Richard and Nancy Kinder are the primary benefactors of the Kinder Institute. [44] Richard Kinder is the chairman and CEO of Kinder Morgan, one of the largest pipeline transportation and energy storage companies in North America. [45] In 2015, Richard and Nancy Kinder donated $2 million to a super PAC supporting the presidential campaign of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R). [46]

Stephen L. Klineberg is the founding director of the Kinder Institute. [47] Klineberg began the Houston Area Survey in March 1982 to examine the rapidly shifting demographics in Houston and is a professor emeritus at Rice University. [48]

References

  1. “About.” The Kinder Institute for Urban Research. Rice University. Accessed January 6, 2020.

    https://kinder.rice.edu/about. ^

  2. “Rice Announces the Kinder Institute for Urban Research.” Rice News, November 7, 2010. https://news.rice.edu/2010/11/17/rice-announces-the-kinder-institute-for-urban-research-2/. ^
  3. “Rice Announces the Kinder Institute for Urban Research.” Rice News, November 7, 2010. https://news.rice.edu/2010/11/17/rice-announces-the-kinder-institute-for-urban-research-2/. ^
  4. “About.” The Kinder Institute for Urban Research. Rice University. Accessed January 6, 2020. https://kinder.rice.edu/about. ^
  5. “Rice Announces the Kinder Institute for Urban Research.” Rice News, November 7, 2010. https://news.rice.edu/2010/11/17/rice-announces-the-kinder-institute-for-urban-research-2/. ^
  6. “Rice Announces the Kinder Institute for Urban Research.” Rice News, November 7, 2010. https://news.rice.edu/2010/11/17/rice-announces-the-kinder-institute-for-urban-research-2/. ^
  7. “Rice Announces the Kinder Institute for Urban Research.” Rice News, November 7, 2010. https://news.rice.edu/2010/11/17/rice-announces-the-kinder-institute-for-urban-research-2/. ^
  8. “Rice Announces the Kinder Institute for Urban Research.” Rice News, November 7, 2010. https://news.rice.edu/2010/11/17/rice-announces-the-kinder-institute-for-urban-research-2/. ^
  9. “About.” The Kinder Institute for Urban Research. Rice University. Accessed January 6, 2020. https://kinder.rice.edu/about. ^
  10. “2018 Annual Report.” The Kinder Institute for Urban Research. Rice University. Accessed January 6, 2019. https://kinder.rice.edu/sites/g/files/bxs1676/f/documents/KI%202018%20Annual%20Report%208.pdf ^
  11. “2018 Annual Report.” The Kinder Institute for Urban Research. Rice University. Accessed January 6, 2019. https://kinder.rice.edu/sites/g/files/bxs1676/f/documents/KI%202018%20Annual%20Report%208.pdf ^
  12. “Understanding Houston: Teacher Advocates for Early Childhood Education in Houston.” The Kinder Institute for Urban Research, December 13, 2019. https://kinder.rice.edu/urbanedge/2019/12/13/understanding-houston-teacher-advocates-early-childhood-education-houston. ^
  13. “Investigating Causal Effects of Arts Education Experiences: Experimental Evidence from Houston’s Arts Access Initiative.” The Kinder Institute for Urban Research, February 11, 2019. https://kinder.rice.edu/research/investigating-causal-effects-arts-education-experiences-experimental-evidence-houstons-arts. ^
  14. Binkovitz, Leah. “The Fight for an Alternative School Rating System.” The Kinder Institute for Urban Research, August 15, 2019. https://kinder.rice.edu/urbanedge/2019/08/15/problems-standardized-testing-alternative-school-rating-system. ^
  15. Olin, Andy. “As Overall Job Growth Surges, Outlook for Low-Wage Workers Darkens.” The Kinder Institute for Urban Research, December 4, 2019. https://kinder.rice.edu/urbanedge/2019/12/04/low-wage-jobs-lead-to-economic-inequality-in-US. ^
  16. Shelton, Kyle. “Is Development Fueled by Transit Driving Residents out in Some Areas?” The

    Kinder Institute for Urban Research, December 11, 2019. https://kinder.rice.edu/urbanedge/2019/12/11/development-fueled-transit-forcing-residents-out-gentrified-areas-Houston. ^

  17. Shelton, Kyle. “Is Development Fueled by Transit Driving Residents out in Some Areas?” The Kinder Institute for Urban Research, December 11, 2019. https://kinder.rice.edu/urbanedge/2019/12/11/development-fueled-transit-forcing-residents-out-gentrified-areas-Houston. ^
  18. Villegas, Carlos. “How Riding Metro Every Day Changed My Perspective on Transit Funding.” The Kinder Institute for Urban Research, November 1, 2019. https://kinder.rice.edu/urbanedge/2019/10/30/how-riding-metro-every-day-changed-my-perspective-transit-funding. ^
  19. Villegas, Carlos. “How Riding Metro Every Day Changed My Perspective on Transit Funding.” The Kinder Institute for Urban Research, November 1, 2019. https://kinder.rice.edu/urbanedge/2019/10/30/how-riding-metro-every-day-changed-my-perspective-transit-funding. ^
  20. Rahman, Fauzeya. “Here’s Where Houston Is Most Likely to Gentrify in the Future.” bizjournals.com, December 19, 2018. https://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2018/12/19/heres-where-houston-is-most-likely-to-gentrify-in.html. ^
  21. Martin, Florian. “New Growth Mapping Tool Meant To Help Houston Better Prepare For

    Flooding.” Houston Public Media, November 1, 2019. https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/local/2019/11/01/350709/new-growth-mapping-tool-meant-to-help-houston-better-prepare-for-flooding/. ^

  22. “Houston Disparity Atlas.” The Kinder Institute for Urban Research. Rice University. March 1, 2016. https://kinder.rice.edu/sites/g/files/bxs1676/f/documents/Houston%20Disparity%20Atlas%20Final.pdf ^
  23. “Urban Disparity and Opportunity.” The Kinder Institute for Urban Research, February 14, 2017. https://kinder.rice.edu/urban-disparity-and-opportunity. ^
  24. Digilov, Yan and Sharim, Yehuda. “Refugee Realities: Between National Challenges and Local Responsibilities in Houston, TX.” The Kinder Institute for Urban Research. Rice University. 2018. https://kinder.rice.edu/sites/g/files/bxs1676/f/documents/KI%202018%20Refugee%20Realities%20Report%202.pdf ^
  25. Svitek, Patrick. “Texas Republicans Warn Trump about Ramifications of Closing U.S.-Mexico Border.” The Kinder Institute for Urban Research, April 5, 2019. https://kinder.rice.edu/urbanedge/2019/04/04/texas-republicans-warn-trump-about-ramifications-closing-us-mexico-border. ^
  26. Binkovitz, Leah. “School Funding Among Top Priorities for Texas Voters and Lawmakers.”

    The Kinder Institute for Urban Research, March 5, 2019. https://kinder.rice.edu/urbanedge/2019/03/05/school-funding-among-top-priorities-texas-voters-and-politicians. ^

  27. Olin, Andy. “As Overall Job Growth Surges, Outlook for Low-Wage Workers Darkens.” The

    Kinder Institute for Urban Research, December 4, 2019. https://kinder.rice.edu/urbanedge/2019/12/04/low-wage-jobs-lead-to-economic-inequality-in-US. ^

  28. Coleman, Garnet, and Nancy G Kinder. “How the Third Ward Is Fighting the ‘Effects of

    Unchecked Gentrification’.” The Kinder Institute for Urban Research, December 3, 2019. https://kinder.rice.edu/urbanedge/2019/12/03/how-third-ward-fighting-effects-unchecked-gentrification. ^

  29. Leighton, Heather. “US Economy to Lose up to $1.5 Trillion If Racial Wealth Gap Doesn’t

    Narrow by 2028, Report Says.” The Kinder Institute for Urban Research, September 12, 2019. https://kinder.rice.edu/urbanedge/2019/09/12/race-wealth-inequalities-america-history-mckinsey-report. ^

  30. “2018 Annual Report.” The Kinder Institute for Urban Research. Rice University. Accessed January 6, 2019. https://kinder.rice.edu/sites/g/files/bxs1676/f/documents/KI%202018%20Annual%20Report%208.pdf ^
  31. “2018 Annual Report.” The Kinder Institute for Urban Research. Rice University. Accessed January 6, 2019. https://kinder.rice.edu/sites/g/files/bxs1676/f/documents/KI%202018%20Annual%20Report%208.pdf ^
  32. McCaig, Amy. “Rice’s Kinder Institute Will Expand Urban Data Work with $2.25M Grant from Houston Endowment.” Rice News, July 24, 2019. https://news.rice.edu/2019/07/24/rices-kinder-institute-will-expand-urban-data-work-with-2-25m-grant-from-houston-endowment/. ^
  33. McCaig, Amy. “Rice’s Kinder Institute Will Expand Urban Data Work with $2.25M Grant from Houston Endowment.” Rice News, July 24, 2019. https://news.rice.edu/2019/07/24/rices-kinder-institute-will-expand-urban-data-work-with-2-25m-grant-from-houston-endowment/. ^
  34. “Kinder Institute Urban Data Platform.” Kinder Institute Urban Data Platform. Accessed Janaury 6, 2020. https://www.kinderudp.org/#/. ^
  35. McCaig, Amy. “Rice’s Kinder Institute Will Expand Urban Data Work with $2.25M Grant from Houston Endowment.” Rice News, July 24, 2019. https://news.rice.edu/2019/07/24/rices-kinder-institute-will-expand-urban-data-work-with-2-25m-grant-from-houston-endowment/. ^
  36. “Frequently Asked Questions.” Kinder Institute Urban Data Platform. Accessed January 6, 2020. https://www.kinderudp.org/#/faq. ^
  37. “Frequently Asked Questions.” Kinder Institute Urban Data Platform. Accessed January 6, 2021. https://www.kinderudp.org/#/faq. ^
  38. “Frequently Asked Questions.” Kinder Institute Urban Data Platform. Accessed January 6, 2022. https://www.kinderudp.org/#/faq. ^
  39. McCaig, Amy. “Rice’s Kinder Institute Will Expand Urban Data Work with $2.25M Grant from Houston Endowment.” Rice News, July 24, 2019. https://news.rice.edu/2019/07/24/rices-kinder-institute-will-expand-urban-data-work-with-2-25m-grant-from-houston-endowment/. ^
  40. McCaig, Amy. “Rice’s Kinder Institute Will Expand Urban Data Work with $2.25M Grant from Houston Endowment.” Rice News, July 24, 2019. https://news.rice.edu/2019/07/24/rices-kinder-institute-will-expand-urban-data-work-with-2-25m-grant-from-houston-endowment/. ^
  41. “The Kinder Institute for Urban Research Project with The Kinder Foundation Gift Donation.” Kinder Foundation, December 9, 2019. https://kinderfoundation.org/major-gifts/quality-of-life/kinder-institute-for-urban-research/. ^
  42. “The Kinder Institute for Urban Research Project with The Kinder Foundation Gift Donation.” Kinder Foundation, December 9, 2019. https://kinderfoundation.org/major-gifts/quality-of-life/kinder-institute-for-urban-research/. ^
  43. “Kinder Institute Urban Data Platform.” Kinder Institute Urban Data Platform. Accessed January 6, 2020. https://www.kinderudp.org/#/. ^
  44. “About.” The Kinder Institute for Urban Research. Rice University. Accessed January 6, 2020. https://kinder.rice.edu/about. ^
  45. “Rice Announces the Kinder Institute for Urban Research.” Rice News, November 7, 2010. https://news.rice.edu/2010/11/17/rice-announces-the-kinder-institute-for-urban-research-2/. ^
  46. “Million-Dollar Donors in the 2016 Presidential Race.” The New York Times. The New York Times, July 31, 2015. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/us/elections/top-presidential-donors-campaign-money.html. ^
  47. “About.” The Kinder Institute for Urban Research. Rice University. Accessed January 6, 2020. https://kinder.rice.edu/about. ^
  48. “Stephen Klineberg.” Department of Sociology, Rice University. Accessed January 6, 2020. https://sociology.rice.edu/stephen-klineberg. ^
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Kinder Institute for Urban Research


Houston, TX