Bio

mmHere’s the quick, dorky version.  If you are looking for a bio for me, do feel free to adjust as necessary, or just make something up.

Matt lives and works in East Vancouver with his partner and daughters where he directs the Purple Thistle Centre and founded Car-Free Vancouver Day.  His books and articles have been published on all six continents, translated into ten languages and he continues to lecture globally. He holds a PhD in Urban Studies and teaches at SFU and UBC.

If you need a CV Ill try to figure out how to embed it here. Seems to be beyond my rather limited current word press skills at the moment.

Here’s the longer, narrative version if you need it (!)

I have lived in East Vancouver for all my adult life. I was born in 1968 and raised outside of Sidney,  BC  on Vancouver Island, went to Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, then moved to New York to work at the Nation Magazine. Shortly after moving down Selena got pregnant so we moved to Vancouver to have a baby. The idea was to move back to NYC as soon as possible, but after almost nineteen years, looks like this is where we are staying.

Our kids Sadie and Daisy were both born at home, in different apartments just off the Drive and we have lived within about a five block radius for all this time. After moving here we found it tough to find part-time jobs that matched up well enough to allow us to share child care so we started little alternative community school called the Eastside Learning Centre. It was a great time and a struggle and we kept it alive for almost five years working with low-income local families. Then we just ran out of money, so in 1997 we merged our project with Windsor House School in North Van.

The merger went incredibly well. WH was a public school looking to add kids, we were independent with tons of kids and no money. So we stuck em together, Selena and I both got jobs, our kids both attended, and the school grew substantially with huge numbers coming over from East Van.  I worked there for five years – Selena still does – and then I started the Purple Thistle Centre which I still direct. That story is elsewhere on this website.

During this time I was a sportswriter to pay the bills, mostly covering the NBA for a bunch of websites and a sports weekly, an had a weekly radio show. Along the way I did an MA and then a PhD., and started lecturing at the local universities – UBC and SFU. I also started writing quite a bit – articles, short stories, essays and features for a variety of different places and have done a few books – edited two and written three – my new one is called Common Ground in a Liquid City: Essays in Defense of an Urban Future.  I also give lectures and talks around the world on a variety of topics and feel very fortunate to have traveled a ton, all over the place to give speeches, meet folks and see cool projects. I have also been involved in a lot of community activism and one in particular which has gone alright is the Car-Free Vancouver project. There’s more on that on this site too.

Finally – the most important part of our lives has always been our children Sadie and Daisy, that’s a trite cliche but its for real.  As well a really huge and important part of our time here has been  other kids that have come into our lives. There have been tons, but over the years a number of them have come to stay and live with us. We rent a big ole barn of a house so we always have room for kids who need a place to stay. We don’t do it officially or anything and some come just briefly, others stay longer and a few really become part of our family and we consider them part of our extended family. They include Jesse, Nada, Nastasia, Maggie, JT, and Keith all of whom we love.  Even more than that Ashley and Diana have really stayed close to us, as part of our immediate family, and now we have Sarah and young Mica in our lives too. I frankly  feel as grateful for this crew (and all the other great kids we have spent so much time with) – and the generosity of Sadie and Daisy in sharing our home- and prouder of all these kids than of anything I have done.