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Houston was the focus on positive news Tuesday: 78 percent of people believe the city is a good or excellent place to live.

This data is based a 2012 Kinder Houston Area Survey.

Survey founder Stephen Klineberg shed more light on what the results mean for the city during a talk at the Greater Houston Partnership. The Rice University professor suggested more focus on preschool, improving the city’s aesthetic infrastructure is key. He also spoke of widespread uneasiness caused by an uneven economic recovery.

“Houston needs a different agenda than when the East Texas oil fields were the basis for its wealth,” said Klineberg, a sociology professor and co-director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research.

He has conducted the survey since 1982, tracking changes in the landscape of Greater Houston through economic and demographic ebb and flow. Doing so has allowed Klineberg to follow Houston’s transformation from a segregated city to a multi-ethnic metropolis.

According to Klineberg, nearly half of those surveyed said job opportunities in the Houston area are good or excellent. But just 27 percent said their personal economic circumstances had improved in recent years. Almost one-third of parents with children at home said that at least one point over the last year, they had trouble buying groceries.

Klineberg also made a case for mass transit, although the data from the survey showed more than 60 percent percent of respondents had not used public transportation in the last year. He argues that it could free up space on the roadways of Houston.

“We have to start thinking about how we build not just a strong economy for some folks, but a viable economy for all of us,” Klineberg said.

Study: Houston An ‘Excellent’ Place To Live; Researcher Talks Improvement  was originally published on