Biography

Tony Roshan Samara is the Program Director of Land Use and Housing at Urban Habitat, in Oakland, CA. In that role, he supports organizing and advocacy campaigns for housing justice in the Bay Area and across the state. Since 2014 he has been involved with the growing tenant movement across the Bay. Currently, he coordinates a regional tenant organizing network, comprised of over 25 member organizations across seven counties, and serves on the planning committee of California Renter Power, a statewide network that convenes tenant organizations from across the state.  At Urban Habitat he has authored or co-authored two reports, Race, Inequality and the Resegregation of the Bay Area (2016) and Rooted in Home: Community-Based Alternatives to the Bay Area Housing Crisis (2018).

Tony has been involved with the Right to the City Alliance since its founding in 2007 and currently serves on the Alliance’s national steering committee.  He is also a co-coordinator of the California chapter of Homes for All, the national housing justice campaign launched by Right to the City in 2011. He is the principle author of Rise of the Renter Nation: Solutions to the Housing Affordability Crisis, Right to the City’s 2014 report about the ongoing housing crisis in working class communities and communities of color

Tony has a PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and an MA from the Graduate Center at the City University of New York. Before joining Urban Habitat, he was an associate professor of sociology at George Mason University. His early research focused on Cape Town, South Africa and the reproduction of race and class inequality from the apartheid era through the democratic transition. Later he expanded his work to examine comparative urban development in South Africa, China, and India. His concern with this research was on urban inequality and the marginalization of low-income communities, with an emphasis on housing, gentrification, and displacement.

Tony runs the Cities and Globalization Twitter account and many of his publications are available here.