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Matt Jordan Miller, Ph.D.

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Class of 2022 BEQ Pride LGBTQ Leader Under 40
(He, Him) is 32

What do you believe is your responsibility to this moment in history? 

Per his website, Matt is meeting this moment in history by “re-imagining an urban design for environmental justice and Black culture through research, writing and visual art.”


Art, urban planning and social justice: three themes that weave strongly throughout Matthew (“Matt”) Jordan Miller’s professional, civic and personal life. Matt is a first-generation college graduate hailing from the Bay Area who recently earned his Ph.D. in urban planning and development from the University of Southern California’s Price School of Public Policy – the first African-American to do so in their 90-year history.

Matt is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design Department of City and Regional Planning and Weitzman’s Director of Justice and Belonging (JxB). His intellectual interests are economic development, placemaking and place-keeping and visual/spatial analysis, particularly on and for Black/African diasporic communities. He is a photographer, storyteller and geographer who approaches these topics using mixed methods for producing insights that he weaves into his essays, presentations, teachings and research.

Dr. Miller has worked through fellowships and consultancies at governmental agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the City of Stockton, the City of Los Angeles’ Economic and Workforce Development Department and most recently the National Endowment for the Arts as a Panelist. He is working on his first book, based on his doctoral dissertation, exploring and theorizing around the geography of Black commerce, culture and creativity in the United States.

His intellectual work has been honored by the National Academy of the Sciences and the Association for Collegiate Schools in Planning. His civic work has been recognized by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the California State Legislature. His artistic and cultural work has been featured in The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The Philadelphia Tribune.

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