On Friday, islanders will have the opportunity to get a preview of what the island, the county and the general greater Houston metropolitan area will look like in the next decade; demographically and socio-economically.

Stephen L. Klineberg, Ph.D., the founding director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research, and professor emeritus of Sociology at Rice University, will be the primary speaker at noon at a luncheon gathering, sponsored by the Galveston Island Juneteenth Sesquicentennial Committee, in the Wortham Auditorium at Rosenberg Library, 2310 Sealy St. in Galveston.

The last 35-plus years, Klineberg has been the voice that has shaped local thought on the ongoing ethnic and social changes in the Houston metropolitan area.

The work Klineberg has put into the “Kinder Houston Area Survey,” which is now in its 38th year, has been the primary force in tracking the economic outlooks, demographic patterns, experiences and beliefs of local residents.

Every organization, whether nonprofit, private or public, in the Houston area interested in preparing for future growth or simply trying to plan how to best utilize resources based on the demographics of their particular area, have utilized the information generated by Klineberg through his work.

Klineberg’s presentation centers on his soon to be released book “Prophetic City: Houston on the Cusp of a Changing America.” He contends that “few cities more clearly exemplify the trends that are refashioning the social and political landscape across urban America,” than Houston.

He contends that an epic demographic transformation is underway, that a nation that once was composed primarily of European nationalities has now become a microcosm of all the world’s ethnicities and religions. And, if a city is going to prepare for quality of life issues facing its citizenry of the near future, it’s more important than ever that they have a good understanding of what the future may look like.

Klineberg is the recipient of 12 major teaching awards and is a much sought-after speaker in the Houston community and beyond. He’s a graduate of Haverford College, the University of Paris and Harvard University. Those interested in what the future holds for this bustling metropolitan complex, should attend this presentation.

Melvin Williams lives in Galveston.

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