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Ted K. Bradshaw

Professor of Community Studies and Development, Department of Human and Community Development

UC Davis

1942 – 2006


Ted K. Bradshaw, professor of community development at UC Davis, died on August 5th of a heart attack while jogging near his Oakland home. Ted was 63 and is survived by his father, Ken Bradshaw of San Francisco; his wife, Betty Lou Bradshaw of Oakland; sons Niels Bradshaw of San Francisco and Liam Bradshaw of Oakland; brothers David Bradshaw of Sacramento and Larry Bradshaw of Vancouver, Canada; and sister Carolyn Jerde of Scotts Valley.


Ted was born in Ely, Nevada, on October 28, 1942 and raised in Walnut Creek. He earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology at California State University, Sacramento and completed his doctorate in sociology at UC Berkeley in 1974. Ted worked for almost 20 years at UC Berkeley as an associate research sociologist in the Institute for Governmental Studies and the Institute of Urban and Regional Development, and he was a lecturer in the Department of City and Regional Planning. He joined the Davis faculty as an assistant professor in 1995, and he was promoted to full professor this past June.


Ted was a leading figure in the field of community development, completing four books and numerous journal articles. He served for the past five years as editor of the journal, Community Development, the most respected publication in the field. His efforts dramatically improved both the frequency and the quality of this journal. His own research focused on rural economic development, state energy policy, and the economic development implications of military base closures.


According to his longtime collaborator in researching rural development, “Ted was truly a man for all communities, preaching a new gospel of human resource-led community economic development.” When he worked with the American Farmland Trust in the 1990s to analyze the conversion of farmland in the San Joaquin Valley, he steered communities toward policies that preserved production agriculture and made maximum use of local resources. Former UC faculty member Al Sokolow emphasizes that “Ted was always interested in the ‘other California’: the rural, less affluent communities and people who were left behind in the big boom in the 1990s. His research aimed to narrow the gap between rural California and the rest of the state.”


Ted is perhaps best known for his 2004 book on energy policy: Agile Energy Systems: Global Lessons from the California Energy Crisis, co-written with Woodrow W. Clark II. This book develops a new way of looking at energy systems in relation to systems of transportation, housing, water, and waste. An internationally recognized work, the book is regarded as a benchmark in the field. It provides a rich context for understanding how the energy crisis developed, the range and nature of policy responses, and directions for the future. It introduces the innovative concept of “civic markets” as an alternative to both traditional regulatory models and to the alternative of privatization. In the words of one reviewer, the book “is among the most important energy studies since Amory Lovin’s famous book Soft Energy Paths.”


Ted Bradshaw’s research on the impact of military base closures in California challenged the conventional wisdom that predicted catastrophic consequences, such as massive unemployment, declining home prices, and the bankruptcy of local businesses. He discovered that closures often had only minimal impacts and they sometimes actually stimulated economic development.


Ted personified the commitment to community outreach that is central to the University’s land grant mission. His research used the theories and tools of academia to improve the quality of community life, and he prioritized building relationships between the university and the surrounding region. Ted developed an External Advisory Board of practitioners to help guide the Community Development Graduate Group. He encouraged his students to develop research projects on topics of concern to nearby communities. He also worked to establish a Center for the Study of Regional Change at UC Davis. This center will mobilize the interdisciplinary expertise of UC scholars to further community and economic development in California’s Central Valley. All in all, Ted’s efforts moved the UC Davis Community Development graduate program to a leadership position in the field nationally.


While Ted’s achievements as a scholar, a teacher, and a public intellectual are impressive, he will be remembered most for his personal qualities. Ted was probably the kindest and most generous colleague any of us have ever encountered. He rarely thought of himself; he consistently put students, colleagues, and his various non-academic collaborators first. He was consistently cheerful, enthusiastic, and always ready to engage with a new set of ideas. His mentorship of students, and particularly his dedication to graduate teaching, was far beyond the call of duty. He connected with students on the deepest level and modeled for them what it means to be a serious, committed, and ethical professional.



Michael Smith, chair

Miriam Well

Fred Block