Kevin T. Smiley

Kevin Smiley

Assistant Professor

110A Stubbs Hall

Email Address:

Humanities & Social Sciences



  • Environmental Sociology
  • Community and Urban Sociology
  • Disasters
  • Health
  • Race
  • Immigration
  • Social Capital



I received my PhD in Sociology from Rice University in 2017. In my research, I study the social inequalities in urban environments, often focusing on disasters, race, immigration, health, and social capital.

My research primarily consists of four lines of work. First, I study how social inequalities in disaster vulnerability and resilience. Primarily using Hurricane Harvey as a case study, I research spatial inequalities in flooding experience, including a focus on flooding outside of 100-year floodplains. A long-term focus of this research is on how environmental changes and urbanization relate to changing flood risks. In this work I have also examined social capital organization formation nationally, and how it relates to expanding economic inequalities after disasters.

Second, I use an international, comparative mixed methodological framework to analyze heterogeneity in urban futures. My book, Market Cities, People Cities (co-authored with Michael O. Emerson; NYU Press 2018), focuses on how the cities of Copenhagen, Denmark, and Houston, Texas, USA exemplify diverging political and cultural visions for cities. We assess how living in a market city (like Houston) or a people city (like Copenhagen) conditions urban life from the economy to the environment to land use planning to race.

Third, I use an environmental justice perspective to research inequalities in industrial air pollution across the United States. This research especially focuses on how there are large disparities across metropolitan areas in the U.S. in their levels of industrial air pollution, and how local organizational ecologies and manufacturing histories connect to this disparity.

Fourth, I also study race and immigration across cities and public space. One line of this research analyzes how group size of immigrant populations connects to anti-immigration attitudes in European cities. Another line of this work analyzes how bicycling and parks relate to uneven urban development and environmental justice.

I greatly enjoy teaching courses in my areas of expertise including environmental sociology, theory and research methodology.


Rice University, PhD (2017)

Curriculum Vitae

Courses Recently Taught at LSU

(Syllabi are for illustrative purposes & subject to change)

  • SOCL 3101: Sociological Theory