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Photo of Theodore, Nik

Nik Theodore

UIC Distinguished Professor

Department of Urban Planning and Policy

Director, Center for Urban Economic Development

Pronouns: He/Him/His


Building & Room:

215 CUPPA Hall, MC 348


412 S. Peoria St., Suite 231

Office Phone:

(312) 996-8378

CV Download:



Research interests

  • Urban political economy
  • Labor markets and labor standards
  • Urban informality and informal economies
  • Policy mobilities

Courses taught

  • UPP 508 Global Urbanization and Planning
  • UPP 594 Urban Informality: Conceptual issues, policy debates and interventions
  • UPP 594 Globalizing Cities: Policy mobilities, planning paradigms & urban imaginaries

Selected Grants

Ford Foundation, Labor Standards and the Future of Work (2019-23), Principal Investigator

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Third-Party Logistics Outsourcing: Governance Mechanisms and their Relationship to Warehouse Workforce Systems (2020-23), Co-Principal Investigator

Hispanics in Philanthropy, Mutual Aid among Latino-Serving Organizations during the COVID-19 Pandemic (2021-23), Principal Investigator

Selected Publications


Antipode Editorial Collective, eds. (2019) Keywords in Radical Geography: Antipode at 50. Oxford: Wiley.

Peck J and Theodore N (2015) Fast Policy: Experimental Statecraft at the Thresholds of Neoliberalism. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Brenner N, Peck J and Theodore N (2012) Afterlives of Neoliberalism. London: Bedford Press/Architectural Association.

Brenner N and Theodore N, eds. (2003) Spaces of Neoliberalism: Urban Restructuring in North America and Western Europe. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.


Recent articles

Schenck C, Blaauw D, Theodore N, Niyobuhungiro R (2024) “Informal Tyre Dealers in South Africa: An Assessment of their Contributions to a Circular Economy,” Urban Forum 35(1): 65-81.

Theodore N (2023) “Day Labor Worker Centers: Advancing New Models of Equity and Inclusion in the Informal Economy,” Economic Development Quarterly 37(4): 363-374.

Wright E, Chen JT, Beckfield J, Theodore N, Krieger N (2022) “Workplace Hazards and Health among Informally Employed Domestic Workers in 14 Cities, United States, 2011-2012: Using Four Approaches to Characterize Workers’ Patterns of Exposures,” American Journal of Industrial Medicine 65: 959-974.

Gutelius B and Theodore N (2022) “Technology Adoption and the Future of Warehouse Work,” Industrial and Labor Relations Review 75(4): 844-856.

Wright E, Chen JT, Beckfield J, Theodore N, González PL, and Krieger N (2022) “A Novel Use of Latent Class Analysis to Identify Patterns of Workplace Hazards among Informally Employed Domestic Workers in 14 Cities, United States, 2011–2012,” Annals of Work Exposures and Health 66(7): 838–862.

Theodore N (2020) “Deportations and Development: Responding to El Salvador’s New Migration Crisis,” Local Economy 35(7): 635-654.

Haro A, Kuhn R, Rodriguez MA, Theodore N, and Meléndez EJ, and Valenzuela A (2020) “Beyond Occupational Hazards: Abuse of Day Laborers and Health,” Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health 22(6): 1172-1183.

Theodore N (2020) “Regulating Informality: Worker Centers and Collective Action in Day Labor Markets,” Growth and Change 51(1): 144-160.

Theodore N (2020) “Day Laborers in the Eye of the Storm,” NACLA Report on the Americas 52(2): 192-198.

Theodore N (2020) “Governing through Austerity: (Il)logics of Neoliberal Urbanism after the Global Financial Crisis,” Journal of Urban Affairs 42(1): 1-17.

Peck J and Theodore N (2019) “Still Neoliberalism?” South Atlantic Quarterly 118(2): 245-265.

Theodore N, Gutelius B, and Burnham L (2019) “Workplace Health and Safety Hazards Faced by Informally Employed Domestic Workers in the United States,” Workplace Health & Safety 67(1): 9-17.

Recent book chapters

Theodore N and Peck J (2024) “Frames and Flows: Pan-Urban Policymaking and Metropolitan Transformation,” in Le Galès P and Robinson J, eds., Routledge Handbook of Comparative Global Urban Studies, 195-206. London: Routledge.

Theodore N (2023) “The Production of Surplus Populations: Informality, Marginality, and Labour,” in and Ballard R and Barnett C, eds., Routledge Handbook of Social Change, 23-41. New York: Routledge.

Theodore N (2021) “Les Centres de Travailleurs: Réguler l’Informalié, du Bas vers le Haut,” in Jean E, Noiseux Y, and Soussi SA, eds., Pauvreté au Travail, Transformations des Marchés de l’Emploi et Trajectoires de Résistance: Un Dialogue Nord-Sud. Montreal: Presses de l’Université du Québec.

Alvarado P, Newman C, Requa-Trautz B, and Theodore N (2020) “Making Injustice Visible: NDLON’s Research and Action,” in Jacobs G, Greenbaum S, and Zinn P, eds., Collaborating for Change: A Casebook of Participatory Action Research, 112-125. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Theodore N (2020) “Using Questionnaires to Survey Hidden Populations,” in Ward K, ed., Researching the City, 2nd edition, 74-88. London: Sage.

Theodore N (2019) “Policy Mobilities,” in B. Warf, ed., Oxford Bibliographies in Geography. New York: Oxford University Press.

Theodore N, Jazeel T, Kent A, and McKittrick K (2019) “Keywords in Radical Geography: An Introduction,” in Antipode Editorial Collective, eds., Keywords in Radical Geography: Antipode at 50, 1-13. Oxford: Wiley.

Recent reports

Theodore N (2023) Chicago Future Fund: An Intervention into Systemic Inequalities. Chicago: Equity and Transformation.

Theodore N (2023) State of Emergency: Immigrant Workers and Hurricane Recovery in Florida. Pasadena, CA: National Day Laborer Organizing Network.

Theodore N and Chiarella A (2023) Mutual Aid in Action: The Role of Latinx- and Indigenous-Serving Organizations in Pandemic Recovery. San Francisco, CA: Hispanics in Philanthropy.

Theodore N (2022) “Introduction to ‘Racial Capitalism,’” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Spotlight On Racial Capitalism.

Theodore N (2022) Building an Inclusive Economy: New York’s Day Labor Worker Centers and Workforce Development. UIC Center for Urban Economic Development.

Theodore N (2022) Recovering from Climate Disasters: Immigrant Day Laborers as “Second Responders.” National Day Laborer Organizing Network.

Theodore N (2021) Survival Economies: Black Informality in Chicago. Chicago: Equity and Transformation.

Theodore N and Chiarella A (2020) Meeting the Moment: An Early Assessment of the Immigrant Worker Safety Net Fund during the COVID-19 Pandemic. National Day Laborer Organizing Network.

Gutelius B and Theodore N (2019) The Future of Warehouse Work: Technological Change in the U.S. Logistics Industry. Berkeley, CA: University of California, Berkeley Labor Center and Working Partnerships USA.

Theodore N, Gutelius B, and Gonzalez AL (2019) The Worker Center Ecosystem in California: Organizing to Transform Low-Wage Industries. Washington, DC: LIFT Fund.

Publication Aggregators

Professional Leadership

Editor (2021-present), International Journal of Urban and Regional Research

Editor (2019-21), Antipode Book Series

Editor-in-Chief (2013-19), Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography

Notable Honors

2021, Highly Cited Researcher 2010-2020, Clarivate

2016, University Scholar 2016-2018, University of Illinois Chicago

2015, Researcher of the Year, University of Illinois Chicago

2014, Highly Cited Researcher 2002-2012, Thompson Reuters/Clarivate