Rice Professor Will Study People Displaced by Houston's Residential Developments

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Photo by Norm Lanier

It doesn't take a lot of looking around to see new construction all over the place in Houston. A Rice sociologist wants to find out who is being affected by Houston's rapid residential development.

Led by sociology professor Steven Murdock, the former head of the U.S. Census Bureau, Rice will begin a three-year study examining the impacts of recent urban development in Houston's metropolitan area.

"This is clearly a new extent of development in Houston," Murdock said. "(The) most extensive set of redevelopment in recent years."

Murdock said the study will have three components: measuring the extent of new residential structures, defining who the people moving into these structures are and defining who the people moving out of the old structures that are being replaced are.

Murdock said the motivation for the study came from just living in Houston and seeing "the extensive amount of development."

To determine the amount of new residential structures being built, Murdock said the study will comprise a variety of data, including tax filings.

A "pretty extensive survey" will be used to define the types of people moving in and out of these city structures. The study will focus on determining an identity for this population, because "you get a lot of supposition about who these people are."

The people moving into the new structures might be coming from out-of-state for new job opportunities, or they might not. Murdock plans to find out.

As for the people being displaced by the new development, Murdock said he wants to determine not just who these people are, but what happens to them in the future. He wants to know where they'll live. Murdock will work in conjunction with the Hobby School of Public Policy at the University of Houston for this part of the study.



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