This Week's Guest:

Air Date: June 30, 2022

Chris Tilly, Professor of Urban Planning & Sociology at UCLA and Graduate Students, discuss Co-ops in Community Planning


Chris Tilly, Professor of Urban Planning and Sociology at UCLA, with several of his graduate students: Geoff Gusoff, Eliza Jane Franklin, and Ernest Johnson, discuss their Co-op Community Development Capstone Project, in Crenshaw, South Central, LA.

Chris Tilly holds a joint Ph.D. in Economics and Urban Studies and Planning from MIT. For over thirty years, Tilly has conducted research on bad jobs and how to make them better. His current research includes ongoing examination of how implementation of digital technologies is transforming US retail jobs, as well as separate research on informal worker organizing around the world. Prior to becoming an academic, he spent seven years doing labor and community organizing. His books include Half a Job: Bad and Good Part‑Time Jobs in a Changing Labor Market, Stories Employers Tell: Race, Skills, and Hiring in America, The Gloves-Off Economy: Labor Standards at the Bottom of America’s Labor Market, and Are Bad Jobs Inevitable?

Geoff Gusoff is a family medicine physician and public health fellow with the National Clinician Scholars Program at UCLA. His public health work focuses on the health impacts of community ownership models including worker-owned cooperatives and community land trusts. He has worked with solidarity economy projects in Peru and El Salvador and helped develop a worker-owned construction cooperative with day laborers in Philadelphia.

Eliza Jane Franklin is a UCLA Urban and Regional Planning graduate student. She created her own independent area of concentration called Critical Race Studies, Digital Mapping, and Heritage Conservation. As a system impacted person and descendant of a lynching victim, Eliza remains engaged in the fight against mass incarceration and racialized gendered violence through multiple mapping projects. She promotes liberation for marginalized communities worldwide who occupy rural and urban spaces through a Black Girl Cartography (Butler, 2018) lens. Her published works include A Planning Mixtape: Black Healing (Matters), Housing, and the Prison Nation and a podcast episode Sankofa: Black Healing Matters. More of her work can be found at the website

Ernest Johnson is also a graduate student at UCLA in Urban and Regional Planning. In partnership with Cooperation LA, Earnest researched, “How to Start a Worker Co-Op in LA” 2021. As a part of his research, he developed a land use analysis to describe the opportunities for potential restaurants within the city of Los Angeles. The team conducted a case assessment of local restaurant owners to forecast the potential conflicts an aspiring group may face. Once collected, in conjunction with the resources provided by Los Angeles City Planning and the Department of Bureau and Street and Services a toolkit was created. The goal of the deliverable was to present a conclusive examination of the zoning where restaurants could be applicable and the complimentary facets of permitting, fees, parking, and community cohesiveness. It is hoped that the tool kit will be a catalyst for more equitable representation within the food sector in Los Angeles.

Our host, Vernon Oakes, is a consummate advocate for cooperatives. He is a Past President of the National Association of Housing Cooperatives, and he’s served on several boards and committees to advance the interests of cooperatives. Recently, he served on the Limited Equity Cooperative Task Force, established by Anita Bonds, At-Large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia. Vernon is an MBA graduate of Stanford University, who has used his business acumen to benefit the community, by promoting the added value of the cooperative business model. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *