Matthew Anderson (PhD., 2012) has received the Geography & GIS Early Career Distinguished Alumnus Award. Anderson joined the Eastern Washington University faculty in 2014 and currently serves as professor and director of the department of Urban and Regional Planning. He was awarded EWU’s Jeffers W. Chertok Endowed Professorship in 2021 in recognition of his strong commitment to social and environmental justice research and his mentorship of undergraduate and graduate students.

Anderson’s PhD advisor Dr. David Wilson notes that "Matt was a dynamic and innovative graduate student in our department and is now a leading scholar and analyst of urban land and housing markets, city governance dynamics, and urban sustainability issues."

Since completing his doctorate at Illinois, Anderson has collaborated with Wilson and DePaul University professor Carolina Sternberg (PhD, 2012) on two journal articles about gentrification in two Chicago neighborhoods. He also collaborated more recently with Steven Radil (PhD, 2011) on two journal articles focused on Critical GIS.

“I feel forever indebted to Illinois Geography, my graduate cohort and fellow alumni, and to David in particular. He planted the seeds that would grow into my research program and taught several excellent graduate seminars. In fact, I closely model my own seminars here at EWU on David’s at UIUC,” said Anderson.

Through his research, teaching, and publications, Anderson has broadened our understanding of several vexing sociopolitical issues in the current United States city: how class-monopoly rent is extracted in the urban everyday, how gentrification is a profoundly racialized phenomenon, the dynamics of urban governance in pandemic times, and the widening rifts between urban haves and have-nots. His work in these areas has been widely cited and his current research continues to build on these insights.

Anderson returned to campus on Thursday, May 4th to accept this Early Career Distinguished Alumnus Award and present his research: "Neoliberal Urbanization and the Pursuit of Class Monopoly Rent [event page]," and enjoy meals and conversation with faculty and students.

“The time I spent at UIUC was probably the time of my life. I met my wife there, and made a lot of good, lasting friends, etc. It could not have gone better for me. Everything about the Geography program set me up for success in ways that I am still discovering today.”