Gary Hytrek

Gary Hytrek

Professor of Social Geography, California State University, Long Beach

Trained in political and economic sociology at UCLA, Professor Gary Hytrek has taught at Georgia Southern University, the Universidad National in Heredia, Costa Rica, and since 2002 at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). His research focuses on the intersection of economic and urban transformations and the politics of development and globalization with specific reference to how communities adapt, resist, or accommodate disruptions generated by global processes. He has authored or coauthored 38 articles, reports, and opinion pieces for The California Endowment, Participatory Budgeting Project, Urban Geography, International Sociology, Journal of Historical Sociology, Latin American Perspectives, among other journals, and the book American Transformed: Globalization, Inequality, and Power with Oxford University Press. Currently, he is completing a book manuscript titled, “From Open Shop to Participatory Budgeting: How Community and Labor Organizing Transformed Long Beach.”

Professor Hytrek is the founder of La Escuela Bilingüe Para Los Latinos, an entrepreneurial literacy program that was one of the first successful bilingual projects in the State of Georgia. He is also founding member of the Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and a Healthy Community, where he leads discussions, forums, and trainings on responsible and sustainable development, poverty, living wages and workers’ rights. Among the Coalition’s work is “Long Beach Rising,” an annual four-day intensive leadership training program, and the yearly “Peoples’ State of the City” event. In 2013, Professor Hytrek launched the Participatory Budgeting Project in Long Beach.

His community-based research collaborations have focused on community advocacy around school disciplinary reform, the School to Prison Pipeline, housing affordability, needs assessments, workplace safety, and participatory budgeting. These campus-community-partnerships have also created numerous opportunities for student research and community engagement. Among his community partners are the Greater Long Beach Interfaith Community Organization, the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), UniteHere, Local 11, Orange County Congregation Community Organization, PATH Ventures (People Assisting the Homeless), Housing Long Beach, City Fabrick, Khmer Girls in Action, United Cambodian Community, and the Filipino Migrant Center.

Professor Hytrek currently serves on the steering committee of the Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and a Healthy Community. He is the vice president and chair of the membership and organizing committee for the California Faculty Association (CFA), Long Beach chapter, the chair of CFA’s statewide Peace and Justice Committee, and a member of the North American Participatory Budgeting Research Board. He previously served on The California Endowment’s Planning Committee that established the Building Healthy Communities Initiative (BHC) in Long Beach, and later was TCE’s Evaluation and Learning Specialist. He previously served on the Policy Advisory Committee for Long Beach City Council District 9, the Long Beach Community Advisory Committee for LAANE, and as a Commissioner on the Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network.


Why do you believe innovations in participatory democracy are important?

To deepen participatory processes necessary to build healthy sustainable communities.

What do you hope to see at the 2018 Innovations in Participatory Democracy Conference?

New community engagement strategies