Professor Tony Sparks' Headshot

Tony Sparks

Associate Professor
USP Advisor and Co-Director of the Willie L. Brown, Jr. Fellowship Program
Phone: (415) 338-3689
Location: HSS 210

Email Dr. Sparks for Zoom links for office hours or to schedule an appointment


Tony Sparks is an Assistant Professor of Urban Studies and Planning at San Francisco State University. He received his M.A. in Cultural Studies from Claremont Graduate University and his Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Washington. His research and teaching interests fall at the intersection of poverty, law, and social policy with a particular emphasis on homelessness and housing informality. He has published several articles on the implications and complications of life in a homeless encampment in Seattle Washington.  His current research focuses on the everyday legal regulation of the bodies, spaces, and habitations of the informally housed in San Francisco.

Teaching Interests

In addition to the introduction and capstone courses in USP, he teaches courses related to law and urban social polity.  These courses include USP 480: Introduction to Urban Policy and Analysis, USP 513: Politics, Law and the Urban Environment, USP 560: Urban Poverty and Politics, and USP 570 Urban Health Policy.

Research Interests

Poverty, Governance, Social Policy, Homelessness. Social Inequality 


Sparks, T., 2017. Citizens without property: Informality and political agency in a Seattle, Washington homeless encampment. Environment and Planning A, 49(1), pp.86-103.  

Sparks, T., 2012. Governing the homeless in an age of compassion: Homelessness, Citizenship, and the 10 Year plan to end homelessness in King County Washington. Antipode, 44(4), pp.1510-1531.

(Forthcoming 2024) Tent City Seattle: Refusing Homeless and Making Home. University of Washington Press.  Seattle

(2020) With Sheppard, E., and Leitner, H., 2020. World class aspirations, urban informality, and poverty politics: A North–South comparison. Antipode. (Second Author)

(2019) Reproducing Disorder: The effects of ‘broken windows’ policing on homeless people with mental illness in San Francisco. Social Justice  (45 2/3, 51-81)


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