Kevin Smiley

Dr. Kevin T. Smiley is an Assistant Professor of sociology, whose research primarily concerns the environment and cities. In particular, his research focuses on environmental exposures to air pollution, sustainable urban environments, and racial inequalities across the United States.

Using an environmental justice perspective, Smiley investigates the disparities across metropolitan areas in the United States in exposure to industrial air pollutants, and how these disparities condition racial environmental inequalities within cities. He is especially interested in how the civic capacity and industrial histories of cities condition these exposures to unhealthful toxins. Additional research on industrial air pollution examines inequalities in exposure to industrially produced toxins at home and at work in Houston.

Dr. Smiley is also the co-author of a forthcoming book (with NYU Press) about urban development in Copenhagen and Houston. The book utilizes a rich array of mixed-methodological data about the two cities to analyze divergent pathways in contemporary urbanism toward two types of cities, which we term “Market Cities” and “People Cities.” His research on the cities also includes research on climate change beliefs, immigration beliefs before and after violent events in Copenhagen, and urban theory on capitalism and cities.

Other research includes work on sustainable urban development, particularly as it relates to public space such as bicycling developments in Memphis, Tennessee and public opinion on parks in Houston.

Dr. Smiley teaches classes in environmental sociology at the undergraduate and graduate level as well as undergraduate classes on city life.

He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Rice University, a M.A. in Sociology from the University of Memphis, a B.A. in Sociology and History from Western Kentucky University, and was a visiting graduate student at the University of Copenhagen in 2014.​