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The Future of Urban Texas

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University of Houston–Downtown

1 Main St.

Houston, TX 77002

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The Texas Tribune is pleased to present its "Future of" series, exploring the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for Texas' government, business and civic communities.

Join us as we travel to Houston for two days of conversations on an array of topics facing Texas' largest cities, including education, poverty, transportation, public health, housing, taxes, economic development, and the impact of precipitous population growth and dynamic demographic change on the way cities are governed, funded and developed. This program will feature deep-dive discussions with thought leaders from around the state, inside the Capitol and across the country.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14

5:30pm: Registration Opens

6-7:15pm: Urban Texas and the Legislature
Presented by CenterPoint Energy and the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute

  • State Sen. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston
  • State Rep. Diego Bernal, D-San Antonio
  • State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston
  • State Rep. Celia Israel, D-Austin
  • Moderated by Evan Smith, CEO of The Texas Tribune

7:15pm: Welcome Reception

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 15

8am: Breakfast & Registration Opens

8:30am: Welcome & Program Begins

8:40-9:40am: Ensuring Urban Health
Presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas and The Hackett Center

  • Elena Marks, president and CEO of the Episcopal Health Foundation
  • State Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston
  • Shreela V. Sharma, professor of epidemiology at UTHealth School of Public Health
  • Stephen Williams, director of the Houston Health Department
  • Moderated by Juan Pablo Garnham, urban affairs reporter for The Texas Tribune

9:55-10:55am: The Challenge of Affordability
Presented by Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas

  • State Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston
  • Christine Drennon, director of urban studies at Trinity University
  • Adrian Garcia, commissioner for Harris County Precinct 2
  • Myriam Igoufe, vice president of policy development & research at DHA
  • Moderated by Juan Pablo Garnham, urban affairs reporter for The Texas Tribune

11:10am-12:10pm: Investing in Transportation
Presented by Texas Central

  • Sue Bauman, member of the DART board of directors
  • Delia Garza, mayor pro tem for the City of Austin and vice chair of the Capital Metro board of directors
  • Michael Morris, director of transportation for the North Central Texas Council of Governments
  • Sanjay Ram, member of the METRO board of directors
  • Moderated by Kyle Shelton, deputy director of The Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University

12:10pm: Lunch

1-2pm: A Conversation with the Mayors
Presented by Humana

  • Steve Adler, mayor of Austin
  • Sylvester Turner, mayor of Houston
  • Moderated by Evan Smith, CEO of The Texas Tribune

2:15-3:15pm: Educating the Next Generation
Presented by Raise Your Hand Texas, Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium, The Powell Foundation and Educate Texas

  • Colette Pierce Burnette, president of Huston-Tillotson University
  • Pedro Martinez, Superintendent of the San Antonio Independent School District
  • Joe May, chancellor of the Dallas County Community College District
  • Christina Mier, fourth & fifth grade gifted and talented teacher at Coldwell Elementary School in El Paso ISD
  • Moderated by Evan Smith, CEO of The Texas Tribune

Event Details

This event will take place in the Wilhelmina Cullen Robertson Auditorium on the third floor of the Academic Building at the University of Houston–Downtown. It is free and open to the public. Light bites and a cash bar will be available at the reception on Thursday, Nov. 14. The program on Nov. 15 will include a light breakfast and lunch.

Parking & Transportation Details

Parking on campus is very limited and public transportation or alternative transportation is highly recommended. METRO operates a light rail line that stops on Main Street in front of UHD's campus. A number of bus routes also serve UHD's campus. More information can be found here. Lyft is offering discounted rides to attendees of the event — register for the event to get your discount code.

Visitor parking is available on Thursday, Nov. 14 in the Visitor's Garage (201 Girard St., map) on a first-come, first-served basis. Additional parking is available at nearby metered parking lots (parking information). Parking fees are not included with registration.

Complimentary visitor parking on campus is available on Friday, Nov. 15 at the UHD Bayou Parking Lot (map). From the Bayou Lot, it is a short walk down the hike/bike path to get to the Welcome Center. A shuttle will also be available from this lot. Additional parking is available at nearby metered parking lots (parking information). Parking fees are not included with registration.

The Texas Tribune is proud to celebrate 10 years of exceptional journalism for an exceptional state. Explore the next 10 years with us.

Major sponsors for this event are Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, CenterPoint Energy, Texas Central, NRG, Pearson, Arnold Ventures, Raise Your Hand Texas, The Powell Foundation, Humana, Educate Texas, Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium, Texas Municipal League, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, The Hackett Center, Trellis Foundation and Houston Endowment. Media support is provided by Houston Public Media. It is supported by Lyft and hosted by the University of Houston-Downtown.

Tribune events are also supported through contributions from our founding investors and members. Though donors and corporate sponsors underwrite Texas Tribune events, they play no role in determining the content, panelists or line of questioning.

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University of Houston–Downtown

1 Main St.

Houston, TX 77002

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