Thursday AM July 23rd, 2009

image of measuring tape

The grant for developing a methodology to measure sustainability has been awarded to a team of Houston researchers to come up with methods for measuring future development.ξ The team includes Rice sociology professor Stephen Klineberg and University of Houston Institute for Regional Forecasting director Barton Smith, as well as Rice environmental law professor Jim Blackburn.ξ He says a city's sustainable growth involves economic, environmental and social factors.
"I think we will have, you know, quite a lot of very interesting discussions about it, but I think that's sort of the point.ξ I think for so long we have measured success in our society primarily in economic terms, oftentimes seldom in social or environmental terms.ξ And the idea is to try to bring those three things together."ξξ

Blackburn hopes the team will have preliminary concepts ready for a course beginning in spring 2010.ξ He says it could be a regular report, much like Stephen Klineberg's Houston Area demographic surveys that began in 1982.

"Very similar to Stephen's survey in the sense that it will give us a measurement of progress and change over a long period of time.ξ Ultimately, there may be an economic, social and environmental system that's quite a bit different than what we think of as a sound economy today."ξξξ

Issues being considered include the number and type of jobs being created, social equity in job creation, water and air quality, food security and transportation.ξ Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.


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