Peter Dreier

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Peter Dreier "is the Dr. E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics, and director of the Urban & Environmental Policy Program, at Occidental College in Los Angeles. He also coordinates the summer internship program in community development and affordable housing. He joined the Occidental faculty in January 1993 after serving for nine years as Director of Housing at the Boston Redevelopment Authority and senior policy advisor to Boston Mayor Ray Flynn. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago (1977) and his B.A. from Syracuse University (1970). He teaches Intro to American Politics, Urban Politics and Policy, Community Organizing and Leadership, Movements for Social Justice, and Work & Labor in America...

"He is coauthor of three books about cities and urban policy. The Next Los Angeles: The Struggle for a Livable City (with Regina Freer, Bob Gottlieb, and Mark Vallianatos) was published by University of California Press in 2005. A second edition, incorporating the election and first year of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's administration, was published in 2006. Place Matters: Metropolitics for the 21st Century (coauthored with John Mollenkopf and Todd Swanstrom) was published by the University Press of Kansas in 2001; a second edition was published in 2005. It won the Michael Harrington Book Award, given by the American Political Science Association for the "outstanding book that demonstrates how scholarship can be used in the struggle for a better world." Regions That Work: How Cities and Suburbs Can Grow Together (coauthored with Manuel Pastor, Eugene Grigsby, and Marta Lopez-Garza) was published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2000. It examines the disconnect between regional economic development strategies and community development practices in low-income neighborhoods. Dreier also coedited (with Jennifer Wolch and Manuel Pastor) Up Against the Sprawl: Public Policy and the Making of Southern California, published in 2005 by University of Minnesota Press. It examines the government policies that promoted sprawl in Southern California.

"Dreier was co-author of a Brookings Institution report on widening inequalities in America's suburbs, Pulling Apart: Economic Segregation among Suburbs and Central Cities in Major Metropolitan Areas, released in October 2004. He is currently working on a report for the Eisenhower Foundation examining the condition of U.S. cities 40 years after the urban riots of 1967. He also wrote wrote a report for the Ford Foundation and Demos (a public policy think tank) evaluating current federal housing programs and recommend a variety of reforms to strengthen housing policy's effectiveness and political constituency.

"Along with economists Richard Green and Andrew Reschovsky of the University of Wisconsin, he co-directed a $655,000 grant from the Ford Foundation focusing on expanding homeownership opportunities. They coordinated a team of 12 researchers to examine the impact of federal tax policy on homeownership and the housing industry and to recommend new ways to design tax policy to increase the homeownership rate, particularly among low-income households.

"Dreier's research has been funded by the Haynes Foundation, the Irvine Foundation, the Century Foundation, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, the Ford Foundation, the Brookings Institution, and other funders...

"Dreier is actively engaged in civic and political efforts at both the national and local levels. He currently serves as co-chair of the Housing Innovations Roundtable, sponsored by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's office, to identify "best practices" in housing policy and programs that can be adopted by LA. He served on the executive committee of Housing LA, a broad coalition of labor, community, and faith-based groups that in 2001 successfully persuaded Mayor James Hahn and the LA City Council to enact a $100 million annual Housing Trust Fund to help address the city's severe housing shortage. It is currently working to enact an Inclusionary Zoning ordinance in Los Angeles.

"He has been a member of two Los Angeles City Council task forces -- on economic development and on affordable housing. He is a member of the United Way of Los Angeles' Community Reinvestment Task Force. .He currently serves on the boards of the Pasadena Education Foundation, the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, the National Housing Institute, the Southern California Association for Nonprofit Housing, and the Horizon Institute. He is a founder of Invest in Kids, an advocacy group for parents, teachers, and community residents working to improve the Pasadena Unified School District.

"He has served on the Pasadena School Choice Commission (appointed by the superintendent to increase participation of parents in school affairs) and on the Pasadena Charter Reform Commission. He has served on the advisory boards of the Liberty Hill Foundation, United for a Fair Economy, Campaign for America's Future, Boston Foundation, National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, Neighborhood Housing Services, and other groups.

"He is a founder and co-chair of the Progressive Los Angeles Network (PLAN), a foundation-funded project to link policy experts with grassroots organizations to develop a broad policy agenda for the Los Angeles region...

"He has worked closely with a wide range of community organizations, labor unions, and public interest organizations, and has worked as a consultant for a variety of foundations and government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), VISTA, the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the MacArthur Foundation, the Boston Foundation, the California AFL-CIO, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, ACORN, the Industrial Areas Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and others. In Boston he served on the boards of Neighborhood Housing Services, Urban Edge CDC, Health Care for the Homeless Project, and other organizations. In the early l980s, he was a founder of the Massachusetts Tenants Organization. While working in city government, he was named "Hero of the Week" by the Boston Phoenix for his efforts to fight redlining (bank discrimination) in Boston's neighborhoods...

"In 1993, the Clinton administration appointed Professor Dreier to the Advisory Board of the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC), the Savings-and-Loan clean-up agency.

"Professor Dreier is married to Terry Meng, a nurse practitioner, and lives in Pasadena." [1] CV

Selected Articles

  • “Power From the Bottom Up: How ACORN Organizes the Poor,” in Robert Fisher, ed., The People Shall Rule, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, forthcoming 2007.
  • “How the Media Compound Urban Problems,” Journal of Urban Affairs, Vol. 27, No. 2, 2005, pp. 193-201.
  • “Social Justice Philanthropy: Can We Get More Bang for the Buck?” Social Policy, Vol. 33, No. 1, Fall 2002, pp. 27-33.
  • Review of Richard Zweigenhaft and G. William Domhoff, Jews in the Protestant Establishment, in Contemporary Sociology, Vol. l2, No. 6, November l983, pp. l08-l09.
  • "Socialist and Cynicism: An Essay on Politics, Scholarship, and Teaching," Socialist Review, Vol. l0, No. 5, September/October l980, pp. l05-l3l.

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. Peter Dreier, accessed September 29, 2009.
  2. About, Social Policy, accessed September 29, 2009.
  3. People, Liberty Hill Foundation, accessed November 19, 2010.