Chris Tilly, Professor of Urban Planning & Sociology at UCLA and graduate students discuss co-ops in community planning on Everything Co-op


Tune in to WOL 1450 AM, 95.9 FM and WOL Live Stream June 30, 2022, 10:30 am EDT, for Everything Co-op, hosted by Vernon Oakes. This week Vernon interviews Chris Tilly, professor of Urban Planning and Sociology at UCLA, with several of his graduate students: Geoff Gusoff, Eliza Jane Franklin, and Ernest Johnson. Vernon and his guests will discuss cooperative elements in community planning, and the health impacts of community ownership models including worker-owned cooperatives and community land trusts. The discussion will center on the community of 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.

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