Rice University

Rice University Center for Civic Leadership

Previous HART Projects

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Measuring Houston Arboretum's Visitor Experience (Spring 2019)

This team supported the master planning efforts of the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, a 55-acre non-profit urban nature sanctuary that provides education about the natural environment to people of all ages. The project focused on understanding who visits the Arboretum, where those visitors come from, what aspects they engage with when visiting, and visitors’ familiarity with existing programs and other specific questions based on the interests of Arboretum staff. In total, the team analyzed responses from almost 200 Arboretum visitors; the information will be used to inform decisions going forward with the Arboretum master plan.

Students:

Tian-Tian He, Ecology and Evolutionaly Biology & Study of Women Gender and Sexuality
Dawson Klein, Anthropology 
Ramee Saleh, Economics & Policy Studies
Sarah Torresen, Ecology and Evolutionaly Biology

Team Coach: 

Matt Lamb, Political Science

Faculty Advisors:

Randal Hall, History
Richard Johnson, Environmental Studies

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF). 

This project is mentioned in Rice University News and Media (2019) as well as Rice Magazine (Summer 2019)

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Analyzing the Effectiveness of HFD's Community Safety Programs (Spring 2019)

This team partnered with the Houston Fire Department to devise a procedure to measure the effectiveness of HFD’s public education programs. The role of the Houston Fire Department (HFD) goes beyond putting out fires and incorporates many aspects of public safety including emergency medical services and fire prevention. Their mission is to save lives and protect property. Public education plays an important role in this mission. This project supported HFD by identifying best practices for evaluating programs, developing ways to assess the effectiveness of existing resources by analyzing current programming, and preforming a needs assessment based on the Houston community.

Students:

Shannon Chen, Statistics
Charlie Dwight, Econoics & Social Policy Analysis
Ranie Lin, Mathematical Economic Analysis & Computational and Applied Mathmatics
Rachel Moore, Mathematical Economic Analysis & Social Policy Analysis


Team Coach: 
Steven Perry, Political Science

Faculty Advisor:

Bob Stein, Political Science

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).

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Communicating the Value of a Walk Through the Woods (Spring 2019)

This team worked with the Memorial Park Conservancy (MPC) to identify ways to raise awareness of the value that urban forests can play in mental wellbeing. Studies have shown that engagement with urban forests can have positive mental health benefits in addition to physical health benefits. The team researched connections between mental health and urban forests and interviewed park staff, guests, and local community stakeholders to design a strategy for engagement to promote mental health benefits for visitors and create a means of communicating these benefits to targeted audiences and the public at large that involved developing user-friendly signage and website content to provide accurate information and communicate the mental health benefits for each of the existing trails and identifying  new partnerships and mental health opportunities.

Students:

Antonia Iyer, Political Science & Policy Studies
Yunmin Oh, Cognititve Sciences & Psychology
Zoe Parker, Environmental Science & Policy Studies
Annum Sadana, Biochemestiry and Cell Biology & Policy Stuidies

Team Coach: 

Cathy Boyd, Sociology

Faculty Advisor:

Winifred J. Hamilton, Enviornmenal Health (Baylor College of Medicine)

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).

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Undies for Everyone Disaster Relief Plan (Fall 2018)

This team collaborated with Undies for Everyone (UFE), a non-profit organization committed to the self-esteem, dignity, and success of disadvantaged students in North America by providing them new underwear. After participating in disaster response by providing underwear to displaced persons during Hurricane Harvey, UFE wished to expand their mission by incorporating disaster relief. The team reviewed common practitioner recommendations and conducted interviews  to identify key best practives for disaster response. The team then made recommendations on how UFE could best implement these practices into their current disaster response efforts, and evaluated how potential disaster response partners fit UFE’s mission and goals.

Students:

Janice Jean, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Elizabeth Dullea, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology & Kinesiology
Taylor Phillips, Psychology
Aylin Diaz-Valladares, Sociology

Team Coach: 
Steven Perry, Political Science

Faculty Advisor:
Doug Schuller, Business and Public Policy

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).

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The Past, Present and Future of Camp Logan (Fall 2018)

This team collaborated with Memorial Park Conservancy (MPC) to identifying options for preserving the history of Camp Logan, a World War I training camp existing on the land that is now Memorial Park. The team proposed three histories to highlight, including the use of Camp Logan from 1917 to 1919, the 370th Infantry, and the Houston Mutiny of 1917. With consideration for the way the park will change in accordance with its Master Plan, the team recommended the construction of orientation stations, metal tent structures, plexiglass displays and reflective spaces, as well as an app-based audio tour with the goal of making Memorial Park an educational destination for audiences of all ages.

Students:

Catherine Kirby, Political Science
Neha Sahai, Architecture 
Emma Satterfield, Anthropology & History 
Gillian Culkin, Spanish and Portuguese

Team Coach: 
Cathy Boyd, Sociology

Faculty Advisor:
Jeffrey Fleisher, Anthropology

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).

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Promoting Civic Engagement in the Classroom (Fall 2018)

This team collaborated with Mi Familia Vota (MFV) to develop a handbook of civic education activities for use by high school government teachers and other civic educators to increase youth civic engagement. Results from a previous HART project suggest that high school government classes do not lead to more engaged youth and identified a series of learning outcomes that could address this deficit. This project will operationalized that previous work by drawing upon literature and focus groups with teachers to develop classroom activities that are both engaging for students, increase the probability of real world civic engagement, and further Texas educational benchmarks.

Students:

Tanvi Jadhav, Political Science & Economics
Hannah Kaplan, Social Policy Analysis & Political Science
Robin Xiao, Mathematical Economic Analysis & Sociology
Cindy Ryoo, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology & Environmental Science

Team Coach: 
Matt Lamb, Political Science

Faculty Advisor:
Bob Stein, Political Science

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).

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Connecting Hermann Park and the Texas Medical Center (Spring 2018)

This team collaborated with the Hermann Park Conservancy (HPC) by designing and fielding a survey to measure patterns in park usage and preferences amongst employees, staff, and students who work within the Texas Medical Center (TMC) in order to determine how to attract people in the TMC towards using the Herman Park Family Commons (HPFC). They found that the TMC population desire a professional recreation space catered to work life balance, where they can easily exercise, enjoy the greenery and trails, and enjoy a break or snack during the workday. Strong preferences were also seen for live music, food trucks, and healthy food options. 

Students:
Ashley Fite, Psychology & Kinesiology
Rose Kantorczyk, Sociology & Policy Studies
Franklin Zhang, Cognitive Sciences & Spanish
Alex Tobin, Sociology & Policy Studies

Team Coach: 
Matt Lamb, Political Science

Faculty Advisor:
Bob Stein, Political Science

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).

This project is mentioned in Rice University News and Media (2018)

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Improving Education Collaboration at Workshop Houston (Spring 2018)

This team collaborated with Workshop Houston, to assess the educational needs of students in the Third Ward in order to improve Workshop Houston’s ability to align with ongoing education initiatives. They interviewed teachers, administrators, non-profit staff, and volunteers, as well as current Workshop Houston participants to determine what students are learning, where gaps exist, and how to best fill those gaps. A major theme that emerged was that youth living in the Third Ward experience deficits in literacy. The team provided recommendations for specific curricular support to address general, scientific, and technology literacy, as well as strategies to increase connections to local schools, non-profits and students in Houston's Third Ward. 

Students:
Sara Tseggay, Cognitive Sciences & Sociology
Anu Dwarumpudi, Biochemistry and Cell Biology & Art History
Uma Ramesh, Cognitive Sciences
Kusha Gupta, Political Science

Team Coach: 
Cathy Boyd, Sociology

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).

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Modeling Hurricane Harvey Flood Risk (Spring 2018)

This team collaborated with the Research and Education for Able Communities under Hazards (REACH) group and the Severe Storm Prediction, Education, and Evacuation from Disasters (SSPEED) Center on behalf of Steve Costello, Chief Resiliency Officer for the City of Houston, to model flooding experienced by Houstonians during Hurricane Harvey. Utilizing survey reports of flooding during Harvey collected by the University of Houston’s Hobby School of Public Affairs, as well as data on rainfall, drainage infrastructure, and other spatial characteristics to determine areas with the highest likelihood of flooding during a major storm, through a series of parametric and nonparametric models, the team provided policy recommendations to increase city resilience to incidents of major flooding. 

Students:
Arjoon Srikanth, Computer Science & Statistics
Katherine Simmers, Political Science & Social Policy Analysis
Meredith Brown, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Malvika Govil, Mathematical Economic Analysis

Team Coach:  
Steven Perry, Political Science 

Faculty Advisors:
Leonardo Dueñas-Osorio, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Bob Stein, Political Science

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF). 

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Memorial Park Conservancy Forensic Engineering  (Fall 2017)


This team worked with the Memorial Park Conservancy (MPC), a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring, preserving and enhancing Memorial Park. The team conducted archival research, investigated pre-existing maps, and conducted a series of interviews. Through this the team was able to create a comprehensive 24-layer map with their best estimates of the current state of infrastructure for water, sanitary sewer, storm sewer, historical, fiber optical cable, pipeline, and surface drainage features for MPC to use in its execution of its 2015 Master Plan.





Students:
XingYue Wen, Architecture
Biz Rasich, Mathematical Economic Analysis & Policy Studies
Rebecca Francis, Computational and Applied Mathematics & Political Science
Ishani Desai, Civil & Environmental Engineering

Team Coach: 
Oliver Chang, Computer Science

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).

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Animal Welfare in the Houston Area (Fall 2017)

This team worked with Houston PetSet to investigate the state of animal welfare in the Houston area. Houston PetSet is a 501(c)(3) dedicated to making a difference by providing grants to animal welfare-related nonprofits in Houston. In addition to identifying the challenges Houston faces in regards to improved animal welfare and identifying the roles shelters and rescues play in addressing the issue, through an analysis of the practices, programs, facilities and funding of organizations in peer cities, the team identified best practices to improve animal welfare. 



Students:
Maya Iyer, Biological Sciences
Natalia Gaiser, Sociology & Environmental Policy
Patrick Hu, Statistics & Computer Science
Megan Gordon, English & Policy Studies

Team Coach: 
Alexa Solazzo, Sociology

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).

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Mapping Houston’s Flooding Problems (Fall 2017)

This team worked with the Houston Office of Emergency Management (OEM), the Research and Education for Able Communities under Hazards (REACH) group, and the Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters (SSPEED) Center at Rice University on a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded project, to develop a GIS based, multi-layered, map that examines correlations between 311 reports of flooding and multiple indicators that are potential predictors of street level flooding, such as rainfall, elevation and ground surface types. The team’s findings provide an increased understanding of the causes of municipal flooding and re-define how we might think of flooding in the future.



Students:
Alex Yang, Computation and Applied Mathmatics
Keyu Feng, Statistics & Mathematical Economics
Samantha Agniel, Civil Engineering

Team Coach:  
Steven Perry, Political Science 

Faculty Advisors:
Leonardo Dueñas-Osorio, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Bob Stein, Political Science

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).

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Educating and Empowering Young Latinos to become Civic Leaders (Spring 2017)

This team worked with Mi Familia Vota to develop a high school civic education curriculum. Starting with a benchmarking survey of students at two Houston high schools, the team identified current levels of civic engagement and that there is a lack of knowledge among students on how to get engaged. Combining this with a literature review on civic engagement pedagogy and research into other civic education programs, the team created a scalable curriculum designed to provide students the means to have the knowledge, motivation, and empowerment to become civically engaged. 

Students:
Meredith McCain, Political Science & French
Camila Cigarroa Kennedy, Sociology
Danya Kachkou, Sociology & Policy Studies
Amanda Cervantes, Sociology & Policy Studies

Team Coach: 
Matt Lamb, Political Science

Faculty Advisor:
Bob Stein, Political Science

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).

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Renaturalizing White Oak Bayou (Spring 2017)

This team designed and implemented a water quality study for the White Oak Bayou Association (WOBA).The team conducted water sampling over a six week period along portions of White Oak Bayou in order to determine whether there is a significant difference in water quality between grass-lined and concrete-lined sections of the bayou. Analysis found that concrete sections of the bayou have significantly higher temperature and pH, both of which can endanger aquatic species life. This study is part of WOBA's efforts to remove the concrete and renaturalize White Oak Bayou for the good of the community.

Students:
Avery Zaleski, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Kevin Czachura, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Qiu Wong, Mechanical Engineering
Will Deaderick, Computer Science & Mathematics

Team Coach: 
Avi Gori, Civil and Environmental Engineering

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).

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Youth Empowerment Through Entrepreneurship (Spring 2017)

This team worked with Agape Development to promote youth empowerment though entrepreneurship. Agape Shaved Ice provides teens in the OST/South Union neighborhood experience in management, budgets, work ethic and teamwork as well as valuable employment opportunities, while reducing negative stigmas surrounding teens in the area. In considering business sustainability, the team focused on ensuring empowerment of the teens through ownership of the business processes. Through focus groups with teens, studying successful shaved ice businesses and consulting with experts, the team created a business manual geared towards the teens as a means by which to provide them with ownership of the operations as well as a rubric to evaluate future changes to the business. 

Students:
Yasmine Rahmat, Computer Science & Policy Studies
Julia Wang, Economics & Policy Studies 
Agnes Jiang, Mathmatics & Mathmatical Econoimc Analysis
Dylan Dickens, Political Science & Anthropology 

Team Coach:  
Wally Lang, Professional Science/Space Studies 

Faculty Advisor:
Hesam Panahi, Entrepreneurship

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).

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Understanding Herman Park Users (Fall 2016)

This team aided with the development of Hermann Park Conservancy’s master plan by designing and implementing a survey of Hermann Park users’ experiences and an observational form of Hermann Park user demographics and activities. The team surveyed 307 individual park users and completed 44 observational forms, and analyzed survey responses to answer questions about what demographic groups use the park and whether park uses vary between them; what geographic and mobility patterns characterize users; which park features are most well-used; what user characteristics correspond with spontaneous social interaction; and, what recommendations for improvement park users have. The team’s contribution added important new data about Hermann Park usership that is being utilized in the HPC planning process. 

Students:
Sophia Erhard, Sociology & Environmental Policy Studies
Adam Krupinski, Engineering 
Amy Griffiths, Civil Engineering 
Ivan Arizpe, Cognative Sciences

Team Coach: 
Elizabeth Korver-Glenn, Sociology

Faculty Advisor:
Bob Stein, Political Science

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).

The project is mentioned here in Parkside the Hermann Park Conservancy Newsletter.

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Alleviating Street Flooding Through Park Improvements  (Fall 2016)

This team provided insight for the Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD) about how parks can be utilized for storm water storage and flood alleviation during rainfall events. The team analyzed rainfall data from over 100 gauges across Harris County as well as over 8,000 311 flooding reports from the past five years in order to identify flood-vulnerable locations. Considering HPARD’s top priorities for park renovations and areas of focus for the Rebuild Houston initiative, the team developed a list of ten parks across Houston as well as a list of retrofit projects that could be implemented at each park to achieve possible flood reductions in the surrounding areas. Findings revealed that some areas of Houston experience repeated flood loss, even during small or moderate rain events, making them ideal locations for targeted flood alleviation projects.

Students:
Isaac Philips, Mechanical Engineering 
Sasha Figel, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 
Dylan Dickens, Political Science & Anthropology  
Thomas Hsiao, Statistics

Team Coach: 
Avi Gori, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Faculty Advisor:
Bob Stein, Political Science

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).

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Evaluating the Power of Underwear (Fall 2016)

This team collaborated with Undies for Everyone (UFE), a nonprofit that supplies schools with clean underwear for students in need, specifically within Houston Independent School District (HISD) elementary schools, and making recommendations that will help with future program implementation and expansion.The team interviewed key decision makers for the UFE/HISD operations to build a baseline understanding of the program. They then surveyed and interviewed school nurses about the processes for dealing with students who need replacement underwear during the school day, the need for donated underwear and the use of UFE underwear. Findings show that UFE underwear is extremely useful to elementary schools, but implementation of the program is varied and inconsistent. The HART team made several recommendations for streamlining UFE’s distribution process, tailoring to the needs of individual schools, and increasing the organization’s overall effectiveness.

Students:
Sarah Asson, Policy Studies & Statistics
Flora Chen, Philosophy & Economics
Sriparna Sen, Cognative Science & Theater 
Alicia Leong, Biochemistry and Cell Biology & Policy Studies

Team Coach:  
Matt Lamb, Political Science

Faculty Advisor:
Bob Stein, Political Science

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).

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Houston Public Library Pattern Assessment (Summer 2016)

This team collaborated with the Houston Public Library by analyzing data from their most recent customer survey. Building upon worked by previous teams, the survey was designed to gather information on customer priorities and library uses outside of the information currently tracked by HPL. The team analyzed responses from over 11,000 library users concerning their which libraries they visited, what they do at libraries, and what aspects of the library are most important to the respondents. Findings suggest that libraries are used differently around the city and that there is a relationship between customer priorities and actions. 

Students:

Alex Cerda, Sociology & Psychology
Xinyuan "Cyndie" Wu, Policitical Science & Business
Leya Mohsin, Mathematical Economic Analysis & Policy Studies
Akin Bruce, Statistics & Sociology

Team Coach:
Matt Lamb, Political Science

Faculty Advisor:
Bob Stein, Political Science

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).

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Understanding Emergency Management Decision Making (Summer 2016)

This NSF funded project conducted in cooperation with the Houston Office of Emergency Management (OEM) analyzed an array of data sources and conducted interviews with emergency management professionals to examine decision-making during extreme weather events. The students combined flood-related 311 calls, Twitter information, rainfall data, road closure information, as well as news reports to create a methodological guide for research of emergency decision-making and applied their theoretical findings to two flooding events in Houston – Memorial Day, 2015 and Tax Day, 2016. This research will serve emergency managers by providing new ways to identify decision points during extreme events and benefit researchers attempting to navigate the complex network of data and decision processes in cities and large organizations

Students:
Rafael Antonio Butiong, Mathematical Economic Analysis
Christina Hahn, Political Science & History
Mengquin "Christina" Wang, Statistics

Team Coach: 
Jan Dudek, Economics

Faculty Advisor:
Leonardo Dueñas-Osorio, Civil and Environmental Engineering

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).

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Greenway Health Impact Assessment in OST/South Union (Summer 2016)

To better understand how Neighborhood Greenways can impact the health of residents in the OST/South Union community, this team collaborated on the Southeast Houston Transformation Alliance's (SEHTA) greenway planning process by analyzing baseline health data as well as current mobility patterns and predicted use of a future greenway by residents in the OST/South Union neighborhood of Houston. The team designed and implemented a face-to-face, map-based survey, conducting 199 interviews in multiple locations.  The responses were used to estimate the potential health impacts and the findings provide SEHTA with a greater understanding of how the greenway, once implemented, may influence neighborhood health.

Students:
Dominic Herkes, Mechanical Engineering
Joel Thompson, History & Policy Studies
Talia Kramer, Civil & Environmental Engineering
Monika Jain, Kinesiology & Health Sciences

Team Coach:
Elizabeth Korver-Glenn, Sociology

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).

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Evaluating Quality of Houston Parks Through User Opinions (Spring 2016)

In order to better understand how users evaluate the quality of parks, this team created and fielded the Park Quality User Assessment (PQUA).  These public evaluations were used both to identify the user opinion value of planned park renovations as well as to complement previous research that led to quality scores from the Parks and Urban Recreation Evaluation (PURE) tool developed by a Fall 2015 HART team.  The team visited multiple park pairs and conducted 238 interviews with park users.  






Students:

Dylan Dickens, Political Science and Anthropology
Emily Foxman, Political Science and Latin American Studies
Alex Hayes, Statistics
Rachel Ngo, Kinesiology and Hispanic Studies
Danielle Whyte, Linguistics

Team Coach: 
Anneli Hoggard, Chemistry

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).

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Bridge to Clean Air Project (Spring 2016)

The Bridge to Clean Air project is a multi-year collaboration between Rice University and Air Alliance Houston to create a relatively inexpensive air treatment system to reduce vehicle pollution at a prominent traffic hotspot in Houston. The project aims to design and build a stationary air treatment system that would remove air pollution from a portion of US 59 at the Hazard St. Bridge. The purpose of the project was to collect baseline levels of air quality for use in future research that will be used to examine the impact of a planned stationary air treatment system.  However, the students found that the PM2.5 levels were actually higher at this particular site than at other sites in the city where air quality is known to be an issue. These unexpected findings will be reported to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for further research.

Students:
Vera Liu, Statitics 
Will Deaderick, Mathematics
Ryan Saathoff, Policy Studies and Political Science
Bilan "Jackie" Yang, Mechanical Engineering

Team Coach: 
Taylor Barnum, Environmental Analysis and Decision Making

Faculty Advisor:
Loren Raun, Statistics

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).
A KHOU news report based in part on these findings is available here.
The project is additionally mentioned in the Rice University News and Media (2016).

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Houston Health and Human Services Master Plan (Spring 2016)

Working with Page Southerland Page (PSP) and the Houston Department of Health and Human Services (HDHHS), this HART team examined the enrollment and eligibilty of Houstonians for the Women, Infant, Children (WIC) program in order to explore if location of a WIC center impacts who accesses services. Findings suggest that while location does play a role, other factors such as program awareness may also play a role.  The work of this project and subsequent analysis by PSP using similar models will be foundational to HDHHS’s new master plan.



Students:
Evan Flack, Economics and Statistics
Caroline Brigham, Architecture
Reilly Brooks, Sociology and Policy Studies

Team Coach: 
Mackenzie Brewer, Sociology

Faculty Advisor:
Bob Stein, Political Science

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).

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Active Traffic Management Pilot (Fall 2015)

Given that there is considerable interest among the public and elected officials in Houston to operate a freeway system with minimal traffic incidents and congestion, the team analyzed the results from a pilot program the Houston Police Department instituted using Mobility Service Officers to control traffic during incidents on Houston highways and modeled the possibility of using highway entrance ramp closures to help improve traffic flow during critical time periods.

Students:
Evan Flack, Economics and Statistics
Cecilia Liu, Computers Science and Mathematical Economic Analysis
Andrew Marshal, Computer Science and Statistics
Jo Sun, Statistics and Managerial Studies

Team Coach: 
Andrew Moodie, Earth Sciences

Faculty Advisor:
Bob Stein, Political Science

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).

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Understanding Quality Regarding Houston Parks (Fall 2015)

Stemming from a previous HART finding that there seems to exist a threshold for park quality beyond which park user preferences change, this team created metrics and a system for rating park quality called the Parks and Urban Recreation Evaluation (PURE).  The PURE provides a means by which the Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD) can assess the quality of parks in the Houston area in a systematic way.  These insights will help HPARD with allocation of resources. 



Students:
Ben Jones, History
Rachel Galton, Sociology and Policy Studies
Liz Stanfel, Architecture
Danielle Whyte, Linguistics

Team Coach: 
Lynn Fahey, Sociology

Faculty Advisor:
Bob Stein, Political Science

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).

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HPL Library Choice Model (Fall 2015)

Building off the findings of a previous HART team, this team used an entire year of SIRSi card swipe data to better understand why Houstonians choose to use the library they do in order to help the Houston Public Library (HPL) make informed, evidence based decisions regarding resource allocation for current and future facilities and services.

 



Students:

Madeleine Tibaldi, Sociology
Melanie Zook, Policy Studies and Sociology
Shaan Patel, Archectecture
Tiffany Tang, Mathematics and Statistics

Team Coach
Antonia Sebastian, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Faculty Advisor:
Bob Stein, Political Science

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).

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Houston Public Library / SIRSI (Summer 2015)


In July of 2013 the Houston Public Library went live with their new Sirsi Dynix Symphony ILS in order to improve customer’s online experience.  The HART team used the data tracked by this system in order to better understand how Houstonians use libraries so that HPL can make informed, evidence based decisions regarding resource allocation for current and future facilities and services.


Students:
Ben Hamm Conard, Political Science and Policy Studies
Derek Holliday, Political Science and Philosophy
Jena Lopez, Economics and Political Science
Natalie Polacek, Statistics and Policy Studies

Team Coach
Sandte Stanley, Sociology

Faculty Advisor:
Bob Stein, Political Science

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).

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HARC / Energy Efficiency (Summer 2015)

This HART team worked under the guidance of researchers from the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) to conduct a pilot study to help understand existing energy use by small commercial facilities, identify energy efficiency measures and projects, and understand the state of energy efficiency planning and policy implementation in Houston.  

 

 

 

 

Students:
Kavana Gowda, Mechanical Engineering
Anna Kim, Mechanical Engineering
Lucy Matveeva, Statistics and Mathematical Economic Analysis
Geneva Vest, Sociology and Policy Studies

Team Coach
Kevin Smiley, Sociology

Faculty Advisor:
Gavin Dillingham, Policy Studies (HARC)

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).

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SafeClear / Congestion (Summer 2015)

In response to the findings of the previous HART team’s work identifying potential placements of rapid response units in order to more quickly clear traffic incidents, the Houston Police Department charged this team with conducting a study to understanding the impact of the SafeClear program on reducing traffic congestion in order to improve public safety.

 


Students:
Alex Heath, Mathematical Economic Analysis and Mathematics
Jacob Jaffe, Political Science and Computer Science
Jarvis Miller, Mathematics and Statistics

Team Coach
Mackenzie Brewer, Sociology

Faculty Advisor:
Bob Stein, Political Science

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF). 

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TSDS / Advocacy Archive (Summer 2015)

 

In collaboration with the Texas Slave Descendants’ Society (TSDS), which works to document and preserve the history of African Americans in Texas, the team created an online archive of the organization’s activism and a public history web exhibit using the archived documents and other research in regards to the topic of convict leasing in Sugar Land, TX.  

Also pictured: Dr. Lora Wildenthal (2nd left) & TSDS Chairman Reginald Moore (center right)

 

Students:
Breland Coleman, Economics
Ryan Deal, Political Science and Sociology
Alexandrea Franklin, History and Policy Studies

Team Coach
Jason Ford, Religion

Faculty Advisor:
Lora Wildenthal, History

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).
The project was also mentioned in the Houston Chronicle (2015), News from Fondren (2015)The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education (2018)Rice Thesher (2018), and Rice Magazine (2018)

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Parks & Recreation Master Plan Survey (Spring 2015)

In 2014 the Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD) conducted a web-based survey to gather information for their Master Plan.  Respondents to the 2014 HPARD survey were predominantly high income, non-Hispanic Whites living on the west side of Houston, within or immediately outside the 610 loop. To validate the previous survey and to obtain a more representative perspective on park improvement preferences, this HART designed and conducted a survey targeting Black, Hispanic, and low-income park users at parks on the east side of the city.


Students:
Sally Hodges-Copple, Economics and Policy Studies
Emily Jacobson, Political Science and Sociology
Lucy Matveeva, Statistics and Mathematical Economic Analysis
Tanvi Sharma, Architecture

Team Coach
Kevin Smiley, Sociology

Faculty Advisor:
Bob Stein, Political Science

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).
A spin off paper entitled "More Inclusive Parks Planning: Park Quality and Preferences for Park Access and Amenities," was authored with the students and published in Environmental Justice using data from this HART project 

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SafeClear / HPD Rapid Response (Spring 2015)

   

In response to the findings of the previous HART team’s work identifying potential ways to mitigate secondary collisions, the Houston Police Department charged this team to provide guidance on aspects of time and place for the placement of rapid response units in order to have the greatest effect on improving public safety on Houston highways.

 

Students:

Alex Heath, Mathematical Economic Analysis and Mathematics
Jacob Jaffe, Political Science and Computer Science
Jarvis Miller, Mathematics and Statistics
Carolina Osuna, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Science

Team Coach
Andrew Moodie, Earth Science

Faculty Advisor:
Bob Stein, Political Science

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF). 

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SafeClear / Secondary Collisions (Summer/Fall 2014)

In 2010, the city introduced several changes to the Safe Clear program, including charging vehicle owners for towing services. This team evaluated the program’s more recent performance in light of these changes with particular regard to identifying the influence of secondary collisions and evaluating the ability of the SafeClear program to mitigate secondary collisions including providing policy recommendations to improve public safety on Houston’s highways.

 

 


Students:
Jan Dudek, Math Economic Analysis
Jacob Jaffe, Political Science and Computer Science
Carolina Osuna, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Science
Madhuri Venkateswar, CHBE, Policy Studies

Team Coach:
Fall: Christina Hughes, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Summer: Antonia Sebastian, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Faculty Advisor:
Bob Stein, Political Science

This project is mentioned in Rice University News & Media (2014)

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Houston Public Library / Dick Dowling Public History (Summer 2014)

The statue of Dick Dowling that stands at the corner of Hermann Park, just off the Rice University campus, is Houston's oldest piece of public art. Unveiled on St. Patrick's Day in 1905, the Dick Dowling statue depicts an Irish American immigrant most famous for his role in a Civil War battle that prevented Union forces from capturing Houston and occupying Texas in 1863. Until 1939, it stood outside City Hall, but it now stands in the median of a busy street in the middle of the Texas Medical Center, making it difficult for passers-by to know anything about the statue's significance, history, or meaning. This HART project created and curated digital exhibits that drew on the holdings of the Houston Public Library to provide Houstonians with greater context for understanding the statue. 

Students:
Nathan Andrus, History and Political Science
Josiah Grace, Computer Science and Statistics
Clare Jensen, English and History
Cindy Xiao, Architecture

Team Coach
Jason Ford, Religion

Faculty Advisor:
W. Caleb McDaniel, History

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Planning and Development / RBECA (Summer 2014)

This project built off the work of the previous HART project with the City of Houston Department of Planning and Development. The City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance requires that anyone seeking to alter the exterior of contributing structures in these Historic Districts first apply for and receive a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA). Findings from the previous HART project were developed into their Reference Book for Evaluating COAs (RBECA), which now serves as a guidebook for Planning and Development staff, members of the Houston Archaeological and Historic Commission, as well as architects, builders and homeowners seeking COAs.


Students:

Jon Capo, Statistics and Computational and Applied Mathematics
Eric Hsu, Architecture and Art History
Isabella Marcotulli, Architecture and Art History
Christal Porter, Political Science and Policy Studies

Team Coach:   
Michael Domeracki, Religion  

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).

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Houston Public Library / Policy Recommendations (Spring 2014)

HART HPL, made up of five Rice undergraduates majoring in architecture, statistics, policy studies, history, sociology and Hispanic studies used statistical software and GIS to map Houston Public Library customers and use across the City of Houston.  The team analyzed the findings of the previous HPL team to advise the library in regards to policy recommendations for capital planning.

 

 

Students:
Kristin Foringer, Policy Studies and Hispanic Studies
Shaan Patel, Architecture
Nicholas Petersen, Statistics
Kara van Schiflgaarde, History and PJHC
Melanie Zook, Policy Studies and Sociology

Team Coach: 
Antonia Sebastian, Civil and Environmental Engineering       

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Planning and Development / Historic Districts (Spring 2014)

There are currently 19 neighborhoods in the City of Houston designated as Historic Districts. The City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance requires that anyone seeking to alter the exterior of contributing structures in these Historic Districts first apply for and receive a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA). The City’s Planning and Development Department sought to analyze the effectiveness of their current system for evaluating COAs and to develop a more comprehensive and systematic set of criteria for evaluating COA requests.

 


Students:
Yutian He, Architecture and Visual Art
Landy Mao, Political Science and Economics
Isabella Marcotulli, Architecture and Art History
Christal Porter, Political Science and Policy Studies 

Team Coach: 
Navid Sakhavand, Civil and Environmental Engineering

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SEHTA / Alternative Mobility Plan (Spring 2014)

The Southeast Houston Transformation Alliance (SEHTA), an umbrella organization that brings together residents and stakeholders to transform Southeast Houston into a healthy, vibrant, and economically stable community, sought a Houston Action Research Team (HART) to assist in the development of a more accessible network of pedestrian, bicycle, and public transit options for community residents.



Students: 

Mary Buchanan, Economics and French Studies
Sea Hoon Kim, Architecture  
Nick Thorpe, Political Science, Environmental Policy, PJHC 
Kelsey Walker, Math Economics Analysis 

Team Coach: 
Elizabeth Korver-Glenn, Sociology 

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).

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Houston Public Library / User Patterns (Fall 2013)

HART HPL, made up of three Rice undergraduates majoring in architecture, statistics, policy studies and French, used statistical software and GIS to map Houston Public Library customers and use across the City of Houston.  The team collaborated with consultants from Page Southerland Page, a Houston engineering and design firm, and Group 4, a California-based firm specializing in library design and presented their findings to HPL staff, including Houston’s Head of Libraries, Dr. Rhea Lawson.  The team has provided HPL staff with new insight into present and future library use, and their findings will inform upcoming library service and facilities planning.  The team’s invaluable contribution to HPL’s Master Planning process has created an opportunity for a second HPL HART in Spring 2014.

Students: 

Ana Builes, Policy Studies and French
Shaan Patel, Architecture
Nicholas Petersen, Statistics  

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).   

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Project Row House / Eldorado Ballroom (Summer 2013)

The HART Project Row Houses team, made up of four undergraduate students from Architecture, Art History, Anthropology, and Sociology, created a plan for revitalizing the Eldorado Ballroom, an historic African-American music venue in Houston’s Third Ward. Their design proposal honors the building’s storied history and provides amenities, services, opportunities, and activities fitting for its present-day community. Combining archival research, community input, and advice from local design professionals, the team developed an innovative plan for the Eldorado Building to serve as an incubator for community-based entrepreneurship as well as a venue for public events. Their vision for the Eldorado’s future was showcased in an exhibit at Project Row Houses, and serves as an important contribution to Project Row Houses’ community-focused development work in Houston’s Third Ward.   

Students:  
Lauren Eggert, Architecture and Art History 
Tanvi Nagpal, Architecture 
Kaitlyn Sisk, Anthropology 
Asiya Kazi, Sociology and Poverty, Justice, and Human Capabilities 

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF). 
Read about this project here in RiceNews.  

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Houston METRO / Bike & Bus Integration (Summer 2013)

The HART METRO team, made up of four undergraduate students from civil and environmental engineering, architecture, biochemistry, and environmental studies, identified specific service, outreach, and design changes that will help Houston METRO improve bike-bus transit in the City of Houston. The team presented their research findings and recommendations to the METRO staff and was featured in a September 2013 Houston Chronicle article. Two of the team’s design recommendations—a three-capacity bus rack and new bike storage facilities—were subsequently prototyped during the 2013-14 academic years by Rice Freshmen in ENGI 120.

Students:
Skye Kelty, Biochemistry and Environmental Studies
Maria Rangel, Civil Engineering
Austin Jarvis, Architecture
Laura Lopez, Civil and Environmental Engineering 

For more information, click here (downloads as PDF).
Read about this project here in RiceNews and here in Houston Chronicle.