Professor of Cultural and Historical Geography,
Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
Matthew was born in Islington, North London. He is a cultural, urban, and environmental geographer with particular interests in landscape, infrastructure, and more recently bio-diversity. The historical scope of his work extends from the middle decades of the nineteenth century to the recent past. His research ranges from aspects of environmental history, including epidemiology, to contemporary intersections between nature and culture including the visual arts. His book Concrete and clay: reworking nature in New York City (MIT Press, 2002) was winner of the 2003 Spiro Kostof award for the book within the previous two years "that has made the greatest contribution to our understanding of urbanism and its relationship with architecture". His book The fabric of space: water, modernity, and the urban imagination (The MIT Press, 2014) was awarded the 2014 AAG Meridian Award for Outstanding Scholarly Work in Geography and the 2016 award for the most innovative book in planning history from the International Planning History Society. He is currently writing a research monograph on bio-diversity and urban nature.
Matthew has been a visiting scholar at Columbia University, New York; the University of California, Los Angeles; Newcastle University; the Technical University, Berlin; the Humboldt University, Berlin; and the University of the Arts, Berlin. He was Founder and Director of the UCL Urban Laboratory (2005-11) and is a co-founder of the Urban Salon. Matthew is also actively involved in local issues in Hackney, east London, and is a member of Hackney Biodiversity Partnership and Sustainable Hackney. Since 2013 he has been co-editor of The International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. He was elected a fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2015 and a fellow of the British Academy in 2016.