Here’s the quick version:
Matt lives in East Vancouver on səlil'wətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) territory, with his partner and daughters. He is currently co-directing Solid State Industries and has co-founded and directed many other community projects. He currently teaches with multiple universities, and continues to lecture globally. Matt's books and articles have been published on all six continents and translated into thirteen languages. His most recent books are What a City is For: Remaking the Politics of Displacement (MIT Press, 2016), Global Warming and the Sweetness of Life (MIT, 2018, with Am Johal and Joe Sacco) and On This Patch of Grass: City Parks on Occupied Land (Fernwood, 2019, with Daisy Couture, Sadie Couture, Selena Couture, Erick Villagomez, Glen Coulthard and Denise Ferreira da Silva)
Here’s the longer, narrative version if you need it (!)
I have lived in East Vancouver for all my adult life. I was born and raised in the country on Vancouver Island, went to university in Ontario, then moved to New York to work at the Nation Magazine. When Selena got pregnant we moved to Vancouver to raise Sadie and Daisy. We're still here, as uninvited, but grateful visitors on occupied səlil'wətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) territory.
Shortly after moving to East Van we started an alternative community school called the Eastside Learning Centre. It was a great time and we kept it alive for almost five years working with low-income local families. Then we ran out of money, so in 1997 we merged our project with Windsor House School. I worked there for five years – Selena much longer – and then I started the Purple Thistle Centre with a bunch of great neighbourhood teens.
During much of this time I was a sportswriter to pay the bills, mostly covering the NBA for a bunch of websites and a sports weekly, along with a radio show. Along the way I did an MA and then a PhD in Urban Studies, and started teaching at CBU, SFU and UBC. I also started writing quite a bit – articles, short stories, essays and features for a variety of different places as well as a number of books. I also give lectures and talks around the world on a variety of topics (ecology, radical urbanism, community economic development, democratic education etc) and feel very fortunate to have traveled some to give speeches, meet folks and consult with cool projects. I have also been significantly involved in community activism and organizing and have started a bunch of initiatives and projects.
Over the past several years I have shifted almost all my organizing work to the suburbs, primarily Surrey, BC, where low-incomes families and newcomers are being displaced to due the ridiculous housing costs in Vancouver. Colleagues and I have founded Solid State Community Industries which is building a network of workers co-operatives with newcomer teens. I am as excited about this project as anything I have done.
A really huge part of our lives has been and remains other young people that have come into our home. There have been many, but over the years a number have come to stay and live with us. We rent a big old 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, which now has become rather large. Jesse, Nada, Nastasia, Maggie, JT, Sarah, Skye, Alejandro, Shane, Dorone, Sara, Ashley, Keith and Frances are all part of our family, and we feel constantly grateful for this crew (and all the other great kids we have spent so much time with) – and the great generosity of Sadie and Daisy in sharing our home.