Photo of Theodore, Nik

Nik Theodore

Professor and Department Head

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


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 521 Globalization and International Planning II: Comparative planning and policies
  • 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 (2019-22), Principal Investigator

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Third-Party Logistics Outsourcing: Governance Mechanisms and their Relationship to Warehouse Workforce Systems (2020-22), Co-Principal Investigator

Hispanics in Philanthropy, Mutual Aid among Latino-Serving Organizations during the COVID-19 Pandemic (2021), 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. (2002) Spaces of Neoliberalism: Urban Restructuring in North America and Western Europe. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.


Recent articles

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.

Tilly C, Rojas-García G, and Theodore N (2018) “Intersectional Histories, Overdetermined Fortunes: Understanding Mexican and US Domestic Worker Movements,” Political Power and Social Theory 35: 121-145.

Theodore N, Pretorius A, Blaauw D, and Schenck C (2018) “Informality and the Context of Reception in South Africa’s New Immigrant Destinations,” Population, Space and Place 24(3): 1-10.

Theodore, N (2018) “The Ballad of Industry: Recuperating Alienated Identities through Day Laborers’ Song,” South Atlantic Quarterly 117(2): 410-419.

Schenck C, Theodore N, Blaauw D, Swart EM, and Viljoen JMM (2018) “The N2 Scrap Collectors: Assessing the Viability of Informal Recycling Using the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework,” Community Development Journal 53(4): 656-674.

Theodore N, Blaauw D, Pretorius A, and Schenck C (2017) “The Socioeconomic Incorporation of Immigrant and Native-Born Day Labourers in Tshwane, South Africa,” International Migration 55(1): 142-156.

Visser MA, Theodore N, Meléndez EJ, and Valenzuela Jr A (2017) “From Economic Integration to Socioeconomic Inclusion: Worker Centers and the Social Inclusion of Day Laborers,” Urban Geography 38(2): 243-265.

Theodore N (2016) “L’informalité et la sélectivité stratégique de l’État: La montée de l’emploi précaire dans l’industrie de la construction aux États-Unis,”Lien Social et Politiques 76: 114-136.

Theodore N (2016) “Worlds of Work: Changing Landscapes of Production and the New Geographies of Opportunity,” Geography Compass 10(4): 179-189.

Peck J and Theodore N (2016) “Retracing Fast Policy” as part of the symposium “Reading Jamie Peck and Nik Theodore’s Fast Policy,Political Geography 53: 89-99.

Theodore N and Habans R (2016) “Policing Immigrant Communities: Latino Perceptions of Police Involvement in Immigration Enforcement,” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 42(6): 970-988.

Meléndez EJ, Visser MA, Valenzuela Jr A, and Theodore N (2016) “Day Labourers’ Work-Related Injuries: An Assessment of Risks, Choices, and Policies,” International Migration 54(3): 5-19.

Recent book chapters

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.

Theodore N (2018) “Taming Globalization: Raising Labor Standards across Supply Chains,” in Fine J, Burnham L, Griffith K, Ji M, Narro V, and Pitts S, eds, No One Size Fits All: Worker Organization, Policy, and Movement for a New Economic Age, 341-358. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Peck J, Brenner N and Theodore N (2018) “Actually Existing Neoliberalism,” in Cahill D, Cooper M, Konings M, and Primrose D, eds., SAGE Handbook of Neoliberalism, 3-15. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Theodore N (2018) “Urban Informality and the New Politics of Precarity: Day Labourer Activism in the US,” in Ward K, Jonas AEG , Miller B, and Wilson D, eds., Routledge Handbook of the Spaces of Urban Politics, 293-303. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Gutelius B and Theodore N (2017) “The Future of Work: Urban Economies in Transition,” in Pagano MA, ed., Jobs and the Labor Force of Tomorrow, 3-22. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press.

Theodore N (2017) “Regional Unemployment and Regional Labor Markets,” in The International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology, 5701-5709. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Theodore N (2016) “Unions in the Obama Era: Laboring under False Pretenses?” in DeFilippis J, ed., Urban Policy in the Time of Obama, 149-163. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Peck J and Theodore N (2016) “Paying for Good Behavior: Cash Transfer Programs in the Wild,” in Roy A and Crane ES, eds., Territories of Poverty: Rethinking North and South, 103-125. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.

 Recent reports

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. Pasadena, CA: 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.

Theodore N and Requa-Trautz B (2018) Day Labor in Las Vegas: Employer Indiscretions in Sin City. Los Angeles: National Day Laborer Employment Network.

Theodore N (2017) After the Storm: Houston’s Day Labor Markets in the Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Chicago: UIC Great Cities Institute.

Theodore N (2017) New Southern Strategies: Employment, Workers’ Rights and the Prospects for Regional Resurgence. Oakland: Funders for a Just Economy and Neighborhood Funders Group.

Theodore N, Boggess B, Cornejo J, and Timm E (2017) Build a Better South: Construction Working Conditions in the Southern U.S. Austin, TX and Oakland: Workers Defense Project and Partnership for Working Families.

Publication Aggregators

Professional Leadership

Interventions 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

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

2015, Researcher of the Year, University of Illinois at Chicago

2014, Highly Cited Researcher 2002-2012, Thompson Reuters