City Policies

We want to live in cities filled with a diversity of microenterprises, urban farms, community markets, transportation-sharing, cohousing communities, shared housing options, cooperative enterprises, and a wide variety of economic solutions developed at the grassroots level.


The City Policies program creates research and policy solutions that promote just, resilient, and sharing economies. Our work includes identifying legal barriers; creating innovative policy recommendations; policy application and piloting; and collaboration with key partners -- keeping SELC on the cutting edge of the resilient cities movement and able to address the evolving legal landscape of the sharing economy.

Policy Recommendations

SELC's cutting edge policy recommendations provide practical steps for policy makers, planners, and advocates to remove barriers to sustainable local economies in cities everywhere. 

Policies for Shareable Cities: A Primer for Urban Leaders


Policies for Shareable Cities: A Primer for Urban Leaders is the first policy handbook of its kind. It includes 32 recommended policies that enable cities to lift up the sharing economy in the areas of food, work, housing, and transportation. Click here to read or download the brief.

Policy Recommendations for Short-Term Rentals


SELC's draft policy recommendations for equitable short-term rental regulation are available here for review and comment

Worker Cooperative Ordinance


Worker cooperatives create quality jobs, grow local wealth, and promote economic resilience. Local governments can be instrumental in fostering worker cooperative development by removing key barriers and providing essential support. We've drafted a worker cooperative development policy tailored to the city of Oakland, California -- city that could deeply benefit from a thriving, people-powered cooperative economy. A working draft of our Worker Cooperative Ordinance is available here for review and comment.

Local Advocacy

Though SELC is an organization with global perspective and national scope, we are physically located in the heart of downtown Oakland, California and committed to remaining connected and active in our own community.  

  • Oakland Climate Action Coalition: SELC is a member of the Oakland Climate Action Coalition (OCAC), a cross-sector collaboration leading Oakland’s response to climate change through sustainable, equitable, community-based economic development. The OCAC views low-income residents and communities of color as the main authors and architects of climate solutions and resilience. SELC is an active member in the OCAC's Resilience & Adaptation committee and chairs the Priority Conservation Area (PCA) Ad Hoc committee. Learn more about PCAs here, and read about the culmination of our eight-month advocacy effort here
  • Oakland Worker Cooperative Ordinance: We're currently working with local cooperatives, cooperative developers, elected officials, economic development groups, and city staff to envision how Oakland can cultivate worker cooperatives as an economic development tool. To read and comment on our draft Worker Cooperative Ordinance, click here. If you'd like to get involved in this effort, contact yassi [at]!

Resources and Education The Legal Resource for Urban Farming

OccupyTheFarm_GillTract_Albany_CA_CreativeCommons.jpg is SELC's free, comprehensive online legal resource library for urban agriculture. Topics include: Planning & Zoning, Soil Safety, Animals and Livestock, Employment Law; Food, Ag & Health Regulations; Water; Liability, Risk & Insurance; For-Profit Urban Ag; Nonprofit Urban Ag; Land Access; Building Codes; and Homeowners Associations.

Many thanks to our volunteer researchers and attorneys who contributed to this free online resource for urban farmers! Click here to go to

Research Volunteers & Interns

The City Policies program is always delving into complex and fascinating areas of law and policy. If you are a lawyer, law student, city planner, city/regional planning student, or just someone with great interest and background in local and regional policy issues related to housing, land use, food systems, or community economic development, please send an email with a cover letter and resume to yassi [at] 

Some of our current research projects include:

  • Tiny house laws
  • Natural building and sustainable development
  • Growing food in public places
  • How to legalize non-commercial sharing activities at a local level
  • Using community land trusts as an affordable housing strategy
  • Renters' first right of refusal laws


Yassi Eskandari-Qajar - yassi [at]

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