Matt Nohn is an independent poverty reduction specialist and serves as advisor to Mahila Housing SEWA Trust in India and Affordable Housing Institute in Boston. Recently, he was visiting professor for urban management at Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany. A bricklayer by training, Matt holds postgraduate degrees in Public Policy (HKS), International Affairs (German National Academic Foundation’s Stiftungskolleg) and Architecture and Planning (TU Darmstadt).
Matt appreciates informality and its contribution to society and seeks to resolve conflicts between formal and informal regimes. He has collaborated with every level of urban actor on a diverse portfolio covering nearly 30 countries. Projects include a housing finance company cooperatively managed by and for the benefit of informally employed women; a GIZ study on a post-2015 international city goal; a World Bank peer review of UN-HABITAT monitoring the Millennium Development Goals slum target; reform proposals for Gujarati planning and land management systems with Environmental Planning Collaborative; a street design manual with the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy; and worldwide reviews of the livelihood portfolio and of Slum Dwellers International for the Gates Foundation.
Learning from informality, Nohn devises interfaces between formal and informal systems. During his Fellowship he will compile a rapid urbanization pattern language promoting synergies between spatial planning, social organization, economic development and regulatory frameworks. The bottom-up processes will serve as a multiplier for top-down decision-making, collectively producing a sustainable and resilient habitat with social networks, housing, infrastructure, services and life-affirming jobs. Thereby Nohn aims to develop a politically viable, manageable and affordable toolbox capable of addressing rapid urbanization at speed and at scale.