Gilda Haas, MA

Affiliate Faculty
MA in Urban Sustainability


(310) 578-1080 ext. 287

MA in Urban Planning, UCLA
BA in Anthropology, UCLA

Gilda Haas is an organizer, educator, and urban planner who has been helping grassroots organizations build economies from the ground up for thirty years. She has also taught economic development at UCLA’s Department of Urban Planning for over 25 years, where she was also the founding Director of their Community Scholars Program.

Gilda recently transitioned out of her position as the founding director of Strategic Actions for A Just Economy (SAJE), an economic justice and development organization that is dedicated to building economic power for working-class people in Los Angeles. SAJE’s achievements include leading the effort to negotiate the “Staples Agreement” between the Figueroa Corridor Coalition for Economic Justice and the Anschutz Entertainment Group; creating the nation’s first welfare-to-work bank account; and organizing the autonomous Figueroa Corridor Community Land Trust.

In addition to teaching at Antioch, Gilda now manages the popular education website of her alter-ego, Dr. Pop (, creates learning games about planning and economics, and consults with and coaches the next generation of leaders for a new economy.

Gilda lives in Los Angeles and is married to mystery writer Gary Phillips and has two adult children, Miles and Chelsea.

Synergos Senior Fellow
Durfee Stanton Fellowship
California Commonweal Lifetime Achievement Award

cooperative economic development
economic inequality
community reinvestment
housing and land use
popular education

“Community Benefits, Negotiations, and (In)Justice: Reflections on the ‘Staples Agreement,’ Planning Los Angeles, David C. Sloane, Editor, APA Planners Press, April 2012

“Mapping (In) Justice” City (Taylor & Francis), February 2011.

“Are We Growing Together or Growing Apart?” Western City Magazine, California League of Cities, September 2007.

We Shall Not Be Moved: Posters and the Fight against Displacement in the Figueroa Corridor, with Tomas Benitez and Carol Wells. Strategic Actions for a Just Economy/PM Press. 2003. 

“Economic Justice in the Los Angeles Figueroa Corridor”, Teaching for Change: Popular Education and the Labor Movement, Linda Delp, Miranda Outman-Kramer, Susan J. Schurman, Kent Wong editors. UCLA Labor Center. 2002.

“Creating Cultural Windows to Banking Opportunities,” Community Investments. Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. December 1999.

“Popular Education: Building a Bridge Between Social Action and Public Policy”, with Kent Wong. Rockefeller Foundation. July 1996.

“Building the Economy from the Bottom Up: Community Economic Development and Social Movements.” Urban Foundation. Johannesburg. October, 1992.

“Plant Closures and Grassroots Response to Economic Crisis in the U.S.,” with Rebecca Morales. Centre International de Recherche Sur L’Environnement et Le Developpement. Paris. 1987.

Plant Closures: Myths, Realities and Responses. South End Press. Boston. 1985.

“Community Struggles in Los Angeles,” with Allan Heskin. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. London. September 1981.

Co-Founder, Right to the City Alliance (Steering Committee member)
Causa Justa/Just Cause (Board member)
Center for Story-based Strategy (Board member)
St. John’s Well Child and Family Centers (Board member)
Arroyo Seco Network of Time Banks (Board Member)
Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation (National Advisory Board)
Solidarity Research Center (Mentor)
Global Girl Media (Mentor)

Eco-Systems Thinking
Capstone Seminar A & B
Sustainable Urban Economies