Alison Coffey

Alison Coffey is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin. Her work and research focuses on questions of how civil society and social movements make claims for urban land and space as well as build more democratic forms of local governance in contexts of state violence and territorial contestation. 

Prior to beginning her PhD, Alison spent three years as a Research Associate at CoLab, working with the Inclusive Regional Development team to support knowledge co-creation processes with partners in Latin America. This included supporting capacity building for territorial planning in the Amazon Piedmont region of Colombia, facilitating participatory action research processes in northeastern Brazil, and leading a transnational knowledge co-creation process with 20 leaders from across the Americas, which resulted in a conceptual framework for understanding and strengthening efforts to create more just economic systems in the U.S. and Latin America. 

Alison’s continuing collaborations with CoLab will focus on deepening knowledge production strategies that explore innovative approaches for building greater equity and shared wealth in the Americas and support mutual intellectual development and theory-building among social justice activists, practitioners, and academics. 

Alison completed her Master in City Planning from MIT in June 2015. Prior to that, Alison worked with community-based research initiatives in Brazil and Colombia, with a focus on urban and community development in contexts of territorial conflict. She holds a B.A. from Tufts University in Latin American Studies and Urban Studies.