Photo of Sutton, Stacey

Stacey Sutton

Associate Professor

Urban Planning and Policy

Director of Applied Research and Strategic Partnerships, Social Justice Initiative

Pronouns: she/they


Building & Room:

CUPPA Hall, MC 348


412 S Peoria St., Room 233

Office Phone:

(312) 996-2178

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. Her 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 ecosystem 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 moves 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

Chicago Department of Transportation, Camera Tickets, Fines & Fees: Analyzing the Impact of Chicago’s Automated Enforcement Program Through an Equity and Safety Lens, PI (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, PI, (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”, PI, (award: $66,027)

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

Selected Publications

Sutton, Stacey. 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

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

Sutton, Stacey. 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.

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

Sutton, Stacey. (forthcoming) The Spatial Politics of Black Business Closure in Central Brooklyn, in M. Bay and A. Fabian (editors) Race & Retail: Consumer Culture, Economic Citizenship, and Power. Rutgers University Press


Sutton, Stacey and Nebiyou Tilahun. The City of Chicago Automated Enforcement: Analyzing the Equity and Efficacy of Red-Light and Speed Cameras

Sutton, Stacey. From the Impossible to Inevitable: The Solidarity Economy Movement in Chicago

Sutton, Stacey and Jessica Gordon-Nembhard. The Black Cooperative Movement: The Promise of Collective Upliftment


Service to Community

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

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

Organizing Committee, Chicagoland Cooperative Ecosystem Coalition (CCEC) (2018 - present)

Leadership Team, Resist. Reimagine. Rebuild. (R3) (2016 – present)



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

2020     Imagining and Demanding Economic Justice in the Time of Coronavirus - CAN-TV (May 7)

2020     Punitive Cities: The Racialized Economic Burden of Red Light and Speeding Camera Tickets in Chicago, organized by Equiticity  and Mobility Justice (March 9)

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).

2017     Cooperative Cities: Municipal Support for Worker Cooperatives and Equitable Economic Development in the United States. Invited panelist at the National Cooperative Business Association, Washington, DC. (October).