Our Economists

Ian Ross Baran (UC Irvine, Urban and Environmental Planning and Public Policy, Ph.D. Student) - I am focusing on the intersections of race, gender, disability and class within abolitionist thought and critical environmental studies. Specifically one area that I am currently looking at prison abolition and environmentalism, as well as thinking through racial capitalism and the black radical tradition. While this is my focus I also research decolonial thought, solidarity economies and thinking through "the commons" within both a local and international framework. Therefore how abolition is a necessary praxis and framework to adopt as strategy, but also what comes along with abolition as we strive towards a world of mutual aid.


Tyler C. Brown (UC Berkeley, City and Regional Planning, Master’s Student) - I have a background in agriculture and food systems, starting and managing Real Food Farm, a multi-acre farm and food justice project in Baltimore, MD. I also co-founded the Farm Alliance of Baltimore City, an urban farming cooperative, and studied agroecology at UC-Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. My current focus is on climate change mitigation and just transitions. Other interests include reestablishing the commons, equitable economic development, and participatory planning methods. I currently work at the Oakland Department of Transportation in the Planning & Projects Development team and am as a Project Fellow for the Oakland Climate Action Coalition. Currently on sabbatical from the East Coast, I live in San Francisco and enjoy the access to pineapple guava, beaches, and a rich cultural history of organizing and resistance. I balance work with a professional basketball obsession, anti-displacement volunteer work, listening to country records, and tirades against the eggplant.


Katie L. Butterfield (UC Merced, Sociology, Ph.D. Candidate) – My research emphasizes how sustainable local food programs, like community gardens, can equitably improve health and food access, and provide shared spaces for community building and organizing. I want to explore how community-oriented food spaces can integrate with other community cooperative projects to build community wealth.


Kenton Card (UCLA, Urban Planning, Ph.D. Student) – I am a filmmaker and PhD student in the Department of Urban Planning at the University of California, Los Angeles. In the past, I was a past Research Fellow with the German Academic Exchange Service and the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins University. I used to edit Critical Planning Journal and work on statewide housing and environmental policy with Housing California and the Planning and Conservation League in Sacramento. Currently, my research interests include the housing crisis, tenant movements, and racial capitalism.


Grecia Pérez (UC Riverside, Anthropology) – My research explores how an international focus on indigenous exclusion and human rights dismisses the marginalization of other non-indigenous rural residents in Mexico and therefore allows state led development projects greater leeway in excluding Black and mixed heritage (mestizo) communities. Geographically, my research is located in the Costa Chica region of Oaxaca, Mexico, home to many of Mexico’s Black communities. I study the impacts of mega-development projects on Black and poor mestizo communities and the strategies to development available to these communities. I am interested in learning what geographies of tension tells us about the clashing of values in relation to local communities’ own strategies to development. As well as, understanding how global discourses on environmental development shape rural community spaces and relationships.


James Sirigotis (UC Santa Cruz, Sociology, Ph.D. Candidate) -  I study the political emotion and political economy of climate adaptation in California, with a focus on financialization, orientations toward future environmental and economic threats, and uneven landscapes of risk and resilience. I also serve on the organizing committee of the Coastal Commons Land Trust in Santa Cruz, CA. I am increasingly interested in community banking projects and alternative forms of finance for households/individuals, social movements, as well as broader urban communities.


Samara Hayley Steele, MFA (UC Davis, Cultural Studies, Ph.D. Student) – My research explores community self-governance policy, game-making, and analog code, with a focus on identity-based oppressions, consent culture, and decision-making practices.  I’ve been involved with a number of community efforts in the San Francisco Bay Area including PLACE for Sustainable Living, the Oakland Omni Commons, and Occupy the Farm.  I am presently a researcher with the ModLab at UC Davis, and I am an advanced research affiliate with the Humanities and Critical Code Studies Lab at USC. I hold an MFA in Creative Writing from Portland State University.  My experience of being a foster kid and homeless as a youth informs my work.