The Kinder Institute Forum Lectures are organized by Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research. Established in 2010, the institute advances the understanding of critical issues facing Houston and other leading U.S. urban centers through scientific research, educational programs, and public outreach with the goal of developing cities that are more humane and sustainable.



Past Events in This Series

Parks and Public Space: What’s Next?

Mitchell J. Silver, commissioner of New York City parks, discusses the roles of planning and design in creating equitable, inclusive, and fun places for Houston and other cities.


Eric Klinenberg on “Palaces for the People”

In his book Palaces for the People, Eric Klinenberg argues that the future of democratic societies rests not on shared values but on shared spaces, such as libraries, childcare centers, churches, and parks.

Henry Cisneros on “Building Equitable Cities”

Henry Cisneros discusses strategies for inclusive growth in cities; improving urban and social infrastructure; and planning for affordable housing.

Creative Design and Community Engagement Strategies for Long-Term Equitable Development

Maurice Cox, Detroit’s planning director, looks at creative design and community engagement as strategies for long-term urban revitalization. 

Lecture & Book Signing: Richard Rothstein on “The Color of Law”

Author and Economic Policy Institute fellow Richard Rothstein discusses the legal history and persistence of segregation. A book signing follows the talk.


Bruce Katz on the New Localism

Bruce Katz discusses where the real power to create change lies—and how it can be used to address serious social, economic and environmental challenges.

Carol Coletta on Reimagining the Civic Commons

Learn about the concepts behind “Reimagine the Civic Commons,” an initiative to revitalize and connect public places to form cities that are more creative and inclusive.

Elizabeth Currid-Halkett on Innovation and the Warhol Economy

Author and researcher Elizabeth Currid-Halkett discusses the importance of cities investing in innovation for a competitive advantage.

Amy Liu on Resilience and Opportunity Following Disruptive Events

Amy Liu, an expert on using urban research to inform strategies for economic growth and opportunities, explores how cities can stay resilient during natural and man-made disasters.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu

Mitch Landrieu, mayor of New Orleans since 2010, visits to give the Kinder Institute for Urban Research Forum Lecture. This program is sold out.

Harriet Tregoning on Recovering from Natural Disasters

An expert on natural and economic disaster resilience, Harriet Tregoning discusses how a community and government recover from disasters such as Hurricane Harvey.


Hope in Challenging Times: Cities Are Leading the Way in Tackling Our Toughest Issues

Former White House official and current policy institute officer Cecilia Muñoz presents a free discussion in the ongoing Kinder Institute for Urban Research Forum Lecture series.

Sean Reardon on Poverty and Inequality in Education

Sean Reardon, a professor at Stanford University, shares insights from his research on educational inequality.

Panel Discussion: Undocumented City

Experts explore questions about how undocumented immigrants navigate Houston’s social and political landscape.

Matthew Desmond on “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in an American City”

In this talk, Matthew Desmond, winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction, focuses on the realities of extreme poverty and economic exploitation in the United States, and promotes fresh ideas for solving this devastating, uniquely American problem.

Governor Martin O’Malley

Martin O’Malley, former governor of Maryland and mayor of Baltimore, visits Houston to talk about the challenges facing our economy and strategies he believes will make the economy better.


Nigel Jacob on New Urban Mechanics

Nigel Jacob, cofounder of New Urban Mechanics, talks about how he injects human-centered design within governments, and how to begin creating a template for civic innovation across the country.

Author Richard Florida

The Kinder Institute for Urban Research and the Greater Houston Community Foundation present celebrated author, thought leader, and urbanist Richard Florida.

Panel Discussion “Houston’s Pension Future”

A look at Houston’s increasing unfunded liability for employee pensions, how the problem arose, and what can be done.

Janette Sadik-Khan on “Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution”

Janette Sadik-Khan talks about solutions to transportation challenges.