The unifying goal of CEDH is to improve the lives of low-income and marginalized groups directly, using a variety of tools and strategies ranging from organizing and activism, housing development and housing policy reform, job creation, skill development, and traditional and innovative financial instruments. CEDH instructors include: Chris Tilly, Paavo Monkkonen, Michael Lens, Joan Ling, Goetz Wolff, Marie Kennedy, Evelyn Blumenberg, Steven Commins, Vinit Mukhija, Paul Ong, Susanna Hecht, and Michael Storper. Faculty research focuses on a wide variety of topics, such as job accessibility and commuting among welfare recipients, the relationship between housing subsidies and crime, gender and race in planning, tenant organization in public housing, housing finance and residential segregation, property rights and tenure, and strategies for improving jobs. Although most faculty research focuses on the U.S., a number of faculty members in CEDH study these issues internationally.

Graduates from CEDH work in a wide variety of positions, from community-based organizations such as the East Los Angeles Community Corporation, the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, and Trust South LA; to non-profit and commercial housing developers such as Esperanza Housing Corp., Creative Housing Associates., and Community Dynamics; to public sector agencies such as LA City Housing and Community Investment Dept., the LA Mayor’s Office, and the Los Angeles County Community Development Commission; to labor unions such as UNITE HERE!, the Service Employees International Union, Building Trades, and the AFL-CIO LA; and private sector organizations with community planning interests such as Community Corporation of Santa Monica, Chase Community Development Lending and Estolano, LeSar, and Perez Advisors LLC.

In addition to interning at many of the organizations listed above, CEDH students have also recently completed internships with the Bus Riders Union, California Calls, Food Chain Workers Alliance, Little Tokyo Service Center, Unión de Vecinos, and Venice Community Housing.

In order to guide their study, CEDH students select one of two streams of study; Housing or Economic Development.


This stream offers the opportunity to explore innovative policy approaches to housing – particularly in nonprofit housing development – while learning the traditional tools of housing policy and planning. Current housing issues are assessed against a historical background of goals and effectiveness in improving housing outcomes, as well as the secondary impacts of housing policies and their connections to local economic development. The analysis casts a critical eye at understanding opportunities for building coalitions among low-income tenants, community-based organizations, and development professionals, as well as links to organizing among labor, women, and social service providers. The real estate methods provide a thorough grounding in current practice with an emphasis on affordable multifamily development. Many courses draw on international examples as well as domestic.

Economic Development
This stream offers classes and projects that explore the theories and methods of community economic development, focusing on jobs, business development, and livelihoods. Community economic development encompasses business development, workforce development and skills, job improvement strategies, and finance mechanisms. The community focus and interest in working with people at a local scale, often in ways that involve community participation or organizing, are defining aspects of this stream.


Students in CEDH are required to take five courses in addition to the CEDH urbanization requirement, 242 Poverty and Inequality. Listed below are the three required courses for each stream. Students must also take two electives to be chosen from any category or set of categories. Where possible, links to most recent syllabus from each course are provided.

Required courses

  1. 283 Community Research and Organizing  
  2. M275 Community Development and Housing Policies
  3. 280 Affordable Housing Development
Economic Development
  1. 283 Community Research and Organizing
  2.  271 Community Economic Development
  3. 237A  Sectoral Analysis