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Photo of Sutton, Stacey

Stacey Sutton

Co-Director, Solidarity Economy Research, Policy & Law Project

Associate Professor

Department of Urban Planning and Policy

Pronouns: she/they


Building & Room:

240 CUPPA Hall, MC 348


412 S Peoria St., Suite 240

CV Link:

Stacey Sutton


Stacey Sutton is an Associate Professor in the Department of Urban Planning and Policy, and the Director of Applied Research and Strategic Partnerships at UIC’s Social Justice Initiative. She recently launched the Solidarity Economy Research, Policy & Law Project which aims to advance interdisciplinary research, critical analysis, enabling policy, popular education, and community alliances that fortify solidarity economy ecosystems, and highlights the transformative potential of projects operating at the intersection of social movement and prefigurative politics.

Sutton's scholarship and teaching are in community economic development, with a central focus on racial and economic justice; economic democracy and worker-owned cooperatives; movement building and the solidarity economy; gentrification and dispossession; neighborhood small business dynamics; and disparate effects of punitive policy. Her frameworks for research and community engagement entail advancing “cooperative cities” and the solidarity economy and critiquing “punitive cities.”

In a recent study of cooperative cities, Sutton examines how local governments in 12 cities are creating enabling environments for worker cooperatives and community wealth building, by supporting the development and sustainability of worker-owned enterprises and deepening the cooperative ecosystem. Local governments can play an important supportive role, the cooperative movement is principally grassroots-led. Through Sutton’s new body of cooperative city research, Real Black Utopias, she examines the infrastructure and ideology of Black-led cooperatives and solidarity economy ecosystems in multiple cities.

“Punitive cities” encapsulates Sutton’s diverse research on racially disparate effects of universal city policies and place-based initiatives. This includes studies such as the distributional effects of automated enforcement red-light and speed cameras and the economic burden of ticket fines and fees for Black, Latinx, and low-income Chicago residents; racial transition amid gentrification; the impact of business improvement districts for small businesses in New York City; and the effects of municipal enforcement of mundane land-use rules, building codes, and zoning rules for Black-owned neighborhood businesses.

Sutton partners with grassroots and community organizations committed to racial and economic justice, equitable development, anti-displacement, participatory democracy, and cooperative economics. She has led APA award-winning student projects for the Plan Making Studio and co-developed feasibility studies for community partners in her Solidarity Economy course. She served as the principal investigator of a Mellon Foundation Sawyer Seminar (entitled Urban Edges – Dreams, Divisions, and Infrastructures: Comparative Cross-Disciplinary Dialogues about 21st Century American Cities) that brought together leaders within and beyond the academy to advance visions of more just and equitable cities. Sutton has supported the work of numerous community organizations in Chicago and was appointed to the Community Wealth Building Working Group, Office of Equity and Racial Justice in the City of Chicago’s Office of the Mayor.

As part of the Portal Project and Maroon University two-year project, hosted by UIC’s Social Justice Initiative, Sutton is deliberating and strategizing with scholars, researchers, organizers, and artists from across the county around daunting questions such as how we as a society move from injustice to justice, and what a just transition looks like. We emphasize structural, transformative, and sustainable change in three critical and interconnected areas of struggle: Abolition, Economic Democracy/Racial Capitalism, and Climate Justice.

Sutton received a BA from Loyola University in Baltimore, an MBA from New York University, an MS from the New School for Social Research in New York, and a joint Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Sociology from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ.


Selected Grants

2022 - 2024, Principal Investigator, Wellspring Philanthropic Fund, "Real Black Utopias", (award: $250,000)

2021-2022, Faculty Fellow, Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing at Rutgers University, Kendeda Fellowship, Research Black-led worker cooperatives

2020-2021, Principal Investigator, Chicago Department of Transportation, Camera Tickets, Fines & Fees: Analyzing the Impact of Chicago’s Automated Enforcement Program Through an Equity and Safety Lens, (award: $172,000)

2018 – 2020, Principal Investigator, Mellon Foundation Sawyer Seminar, “Urban Edges - Dreams, Divisions, and Infrastructures: Comparative Cross-Disciplinary Dialogues about 21st Century American Cities, (award: $224,963)

2018 Co-Principal Investigator, Democracy at Work Institute and ICA Group, “Building a Cooperative and Inclusive Economy: The Chicagoland Cooperative Ecosystem Coalition (CCEC)”, (award: $6,000)

2016 - 2018 Principal Investigator, Kauffman Foundation, “How Place-Based Policies and Neighborhood Conditions Influence the Urban Enterprise Ecosystem”, (award: $66,027)

2016 - 2017, Faculty Fellow, Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy (IRRPP), “Spatial Interdependence and The Logic of Shop Succession”, (award: $5,000)



Selected Publications

Stacey Sutton and Nebiyou Tilahun. 2022. Red-Light and Speed Cameras: Analyzing the Equity and Efficacy of Chicago’s Automated Camera Enforcement Program  Full Report Executive Summary

Kate Lowe, Stacey Sutton, Nebiyou Tilahun (July 19, 2022) Debate over speeding tickets misses larger point about traffic safety  Chicago Sun Times (op-ed)

Stacey Sutton and Jessica Gordon-Nembhard (January 15, 2022) “The Promise of African American Worker Cooperatives

Stacey Sutton. 2020. Black Chicagoans are Still Leaving the City, essay in Between the Great Migration and Growing Exodus: The Future of Black Chicago, Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy

Stacey Sutton. 2019. Cooperative Cities: Municipal Support for Worker Cooperatives in the United States. Journal of Urban Affairs

Stacey Sutton. 2019. Spatialization of Race from Redlining to Gentrification in N. Kwate (editor) American Inequality: A Photographic Field Guide in the Streets of Camden. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press.

Stacey Sutton. 2018. “Gentrification and the Increasing Significance of Racial Transition in New York City 1970-2010” Urban Affairs Review


Stacey Sutton and Kali Akuno. “Convergence and Divergence: From Mondragon to Cooperation Jackson’s Build and Fight Model” in Michael Peck and Chris Clamp eds. Mutualist Humanity at Work: Accelerating the Global Diffusion of the Mondragon

Stacey SuttonReal Black Utopias: Liberatory Ideologies, Infrastructures, and Practices at the Radical Edge of Economy (book project)

Stacey Sutton. Community Wealth Building: Practicing Democracy, Reimagining Value

Stacey Sutton. Punitive Cities: The Social, Spatial and Economic Burden of Automated Red Light and Speed Camera Tickets in Chicago



Service to Community

Advisory Council, City of Chicago Community Wealth Building Initiative, Chicago Mayor's Office of Racial and Economic Justice (2021 - present)

New Economies Coalition, Board Member (2022-present)

In These Times magazine, Board Member (2020 - 2022)

Advisory Board, UIC’s Social Justice Initiative (2019 - present)

Organizing Committee, Chicagoland Cooperative Ecosystem Coalition (CCEC)



Professional Leadership

Ad Hoc Committee Member, Urban Affairs Association conference (2018-2020)

Institutional Governance Committee, ACSP (2021-2023)

Research Advisor, Small Business Anti-Displacement Network, University of Maryland (2020-2023)




PhD, Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ)
MS, The New School for Social Research (New York, NY)
MBA, New York University (New York, NY)
BA, Loyola University (Baltimore, MD)



Selected Presentations

2022   The Aspen Institute, Economic Opportunities Program, "Democratizing Work: The Role, Opportunities and Challenges of Worker-Owned Cooperatives in the US" (November)

2022    The Future of Finance Workshop Series, UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy, “Work and Labor”

2022    The Impact of COVID on Worker Coops, Kelso Workshop, Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing (January)

2021  Between the Great Migration and Growing Exodus: The Future of Black Chicago, NPR Illinois, The 21st podcast (December 2)

2020     The Future of Black Chicago, Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy, CAN-TV (January 31)

2019     Pan African Solidarity Economy Network, Repaired Nations Cooperative Conference (October 14-15) Accra, Ghana.

2019     Driven Into Debt: How Parking Tickets, Fines and Fees Burden the Poor, Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy (March)

2018     The 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, NAACP Freedom Fund Keynote Speaker, Austin, TX (December).

2018     Examining chain vs. independently-owned establishments in New York City. Invited to present at the Does Main Street Have a Future? Reconsidering Retail in the Era of Chain Stores and E-Commerce workshop, University of Chicago (November).

2018     The Role of Cooperatives in Reshaping Communities, Network for Developing Conscious Communities (NDCC), Baltimore, MD. (September).

2018     Understanding Gentrification as a Social Justice Issue, Northeast Ohio Scholars Strategy Network, Research Briefing, Cleveland, OH (August).

2018     Cooperative Cities: Supporting Worker Cooperatives in Cook County. Invited testimony to the Cook County Commission on Social Innovation (February).