Like a fellow traveler of organizers:

A conversation with Allan Heskin on multicultural housing organizing

Allan Heskin, Melissa Fernández Arrigoitia and Mara Ferreri

Published in Issue 6.1 // Conversations

Keywords: Community work, Los Angeles, housing cooperatives, housing organizing, multiculturalism, translation, Route 2


In March 2023, RHJ editors Melissa Fernández Arrigoitia and Mara Ferreri had a long online chat with Allan D. Heskin on his life and committed work linking community advocacy, housing organizing and planning scholarship, as collected in books such as The Struggle for Community (1991). This is an edited, re-ordered version of that conversation. It contains some conversational references to Allan’s work, which may read as gaps in the structure but rather than explaining things in smoothed detail, we invite readers to delve into the rich material Allan has written. We cannot overstate the value of his ethnographic analysis and planning perspectives.

Now 85, Allan Heskin had a career as a lawyer and planner working with low income communities of color.  He worked first as a poverty lawyer in Oakland, California and later with various communities in Los Angeles as a professor at UCLA.  He became known for his work with housing cooperatives.

Melissa and Mara are RHJ Editors.

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