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Kinesiology Department

Lester O. King, PhD

LesterKing3Dr. Lester O. King, PhD is a scholar of urban planning and environmental policy, specializing in Community Sustainability and Urban Performance Measurement. His research interests focus on developing sustainability strategies for the enhancement of community planning systems. Contemporary and traditionally omitted systems, which are incorporated into Dr. King’s research interest include: Food insecurity planning, Health and well-being impacts from the built environment, Urban forestry sustainability strategies, Resiliency and revitalization community planning, and Community performance metrics.

Dr. King is a certified and skilled planner with expertise in community development, public health planning, master planning, environmental planning, and sustainability planning. He has had experience with developing consensus building techniques for public participation/ community involvement support for the identification and delineation of planning objectives.

Dr. King has extensive expertise in the development and construction of community wellbeing indicators. As Principal Investigator for the Houston Sustainability Indicators Project (HSI), he developed a procedure and methodology for a robust program to monitor sustainable development in the Houston, Texas area. His team developed a web-based management tool, the Houston Sustainability Indicators Quality of Life Atlas (HoustonCommunitySustainability.com), capable of monitoring key urban performance indicators for communities in Houston with the goal of improving Health and Well-being. This tool is capable of supporting the development of short term and long range policy implications. The HSI database serves as a resource for various local government departments, elected officials, and local neighborhood organizations for urban sustainability projects.

Following a model of integrative science for building a comprehensive indicators dataset, the HSI database brought together a robust collection of different datasets including: raster data from the National Land Cover Database (NLCD) developed by the U.S. Geological Survey; Greenhouse Gas emissions inventory from the Vulcan Project based at Arizona State University; Continuous cover of National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) from the Environmental Protection Agency; Business agglomeration analysis and monitoring growth in primary businesses from InfoUSA;  Local and State administrative data on voting performance, waste management, parks development, and capital improvement projects; Decennial Census and American Community Survey socio-economic data is also included.

Dr. King’s work has been accepted for presentation at conference proceedings throughout the US and internationally in Ireland, Barbados, Brazil, Canada and Portugal. Under Dr. King's guidance, the research provides hands on learning opportunities for students in various academic units at Rice University, including the Kinesiology Department, Department of Statistics, the Professional Science Masters Program, and the Jones School of Business.

You may contact Dr. King at Lok1@rice.edu.